Early Intervention is a term now widely used to emphasise the crucial importance of early diagnosis and subsequent intervention, in the form of adequate support to a child who is either physically or mentally challenged.However the word ‘early’ is often misunderstood and commonly describes pre-school intervention from the age of about three years.This of course is better than nothing but in the case of the deaf child, it is far too late.The importance for a deaf child of accurate diagnosis within the first few days or weeks of life is crucial and can be done by nurses or other staff trained in these very simple techniques.

The Government of Tamilnadu is making every effort to ensure institutional births for all babies.This is statistically much safer for both mother and child and has had a big impact in the reduction of both infant and maternal mortality.The great majority of such births take place in Government Institutions where the routine screening for hearing loss in the early days of life could be introduced.After ‘screening’, if there is any doubt as to the child’s hearing ability, the baby could then be referred to ENT Departments, properly equipped, who can make the definitive diagnosis.