Children with bacterial meningitis risk suffering in silence

In just 48 hours‚ a child’s world could turn silent…

Researchers at Red Cross Children’s Hospital in Cape Town say bacterial meningitis can cause permanent hearing impairment if not treated quickly – and urge doctors treating children with the disease to be aware of the high risk they face.

Researchers from the University of Cape Town’s audiology and otolaryngology departments found that most children had not been tested for hearing loss until an average of 17 weeks after being diagnosed.

Ten percent of children globally will develop some degree of permanent hearing loss once the infection spreads‚ the researchers found.

Their research reveals that nearly one third showed signs of severe hearing loss‚ but only around 23% of those who were diagnosed – 16 of the 68 – were referred to the department of audiology.

“Despite a large body of evidence illustrating the need for post-meningitis audiological evaluation‚ many affected children are not assessed and are often lost to a follow-up‚” they said.

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