Congenital deafness: the invisible emergency
Human brain establish time periods during which auditory stimulation results fundamental for auditory and linguistic skills acquisition. During this time periods, our brain learns to discriminate not only simple (phonologic) but complex (lexical, semantical and syntactic) language components, resulting in a really advanced categorization and assimilation. This process is established using series of hierarchic steps, that fulfill only during certain brain plasticity periods of time and only when effective stimulation is presented. This brain-environment interaction through the auditory input is found to be partial o totally abolished in congenitally deaf children, in whom the lack of early detection and intervention results in an incomplete auditory-neural development and a progressive and permanent hearing and language handicap.
Conclusions: Congenital deafness implies an invisible disability whose lack of immediate habilitation drives to permanent hearing and communication sequelae, with consequent not just biological but psychological and social impact. In our country, audiologists are not used to considerate congenital deafness as an emergency but doing so should modify not only our basic concepts, but also the way we handle this problem and consequently our deaf patients long term prognosis.