"Introduction: Prevalence of hear-ing loss is 11.7% of the school go-ing population (5-15 years). Such children fail to develop speech, language and cognitive skills un-less proper habilitation is initiated. If detected early and managed suit-ably, will have a far better chance at a normal life than those who are habilitated late or not at all.
Aims & objectives: To detect the age of suspicion, identification, in-tervention and treatment seeking behavior of children with hearing loss.
Materials & methods: This was a cross- sectional study done in Children between 5 and 15 years age-group with hearing loss, com-ing to an ENT OPD, New Civil Hospital, Surat during the period of 1st August 2011 to 31 July 2012.
Results: A total of 246 children were studied. Mean age of the study population was 9±3.46 years. Average age at first suspicion of hearing loss was 2.9±1.7 years, first consultation was 3.5±1.5 years and first intervention was 7.8±3.3 years. There was significant association between age of first suspicion of congenital hearing loss with fa-thers occupation (p=0.03). There was significant association be-tween delay in diagnosis and gen-der (p= 0.04). As the level of educa-tion of parents and socio- economic status increased, preference for private set ups for first consulta-tion also increased (p< 0.05). In 63.5% cases, advice of general prac-titioner resulted in the delay in re-ferral to ENT specialist.
Conclusion & Recommendations: Even after primary care, an aver-age gap of 4.3 years is observed among parents for receiving inter-vention. Mother is the first person to suspect hearing loss among their children. Basic training of general practitioner/ MBBS doctors regard-ing primary ear care is required.
Key words: Hearing loss, health seeking be-haviour