An­tibi­otics, menin­gi­tis, oth­ers lead to hear­ing loss, says au­di­ol­o­gist

The Guardian (Nigeria) - - SCIENCE & HEALTH -

HEAR­ING LOSS has been linked to sev­eral fac­tors such as menin­gi­tis, measles, jaun­dice, an­tibi­otics, in­suf­fi­cient oxy­gen and in­fec­tion at birth among other fac­tors.

Th­ese, ac­cord­ing to a Clin­i­cal Au­di­ol­o­gist, at BSA Hear­ing and Speech Cen­tre, La­gos, Dr. Simeon Afo­labi could lead to per­ma­nent hear­ing loss if not de­tected and treated early.

He said in­take of an­tibi­otics and drugs used in the treat­ment of neona­tal in­fec­tions, malaria, drug-re­sis­tant tu­ber­cu­lo­sis and can­cer as well as lack of oxy­gen known as birth as­phyxia, neona­tal jaun­dice, low birth weight and in­fec­tion dur­ing preg­nancy such as rubella and cy­tomegalovirus in women can lead to hear­ing loss in chil­dren.

Re­search shows that 360 mil­lion peo­ple have hear­ing loss, with about 32 mil­lion be­ing chil­dren, as the World Health Or­gan­i­sa­tion (WHO) fur­ther es­ti­mates that 60 per­cent of hear­ing loss in chil­dren un­der the age of five is pre­ventable. Afo­labi who spoke to stressed that early iden­ti­fi­ca­tion in chil­dren, es­pe­cially at birth, with ap­pro­pri­ate med­i­cal in­ter­ven­tion can pre­vent hear­ing loss, which could ham­per lan­guage and speech de­vel­op­ment as it af­fects so­cial, psy­cho­log­i­cal, ed­u­ca­tion and eco­nomic power of the pa­tients af­fect­ing their pro­duc­tiv­ity in their work place. He main­tained that cer­tain med­i­cal prac­tices and in­ter­ven­tions should be put in place at birth as chil­dren are sus­cep­ti­ble to in­fec­tions which could lead to hear­ing loss, adding that neona­tal hear­ing screen­ing should be done af­ter birth to de­ter­mine the hear­ing sta­tus of the child.

“There are some fac­tors that causes hear­ing loss that can not be con­trolled. Af­ter the birth of a child, the child should un­dergo screen­ing to de­ter­mine their hear­ing sta­tus, and if dis­cov­ered the child has prob­lem with hear­ing, im­me­di­ate treat­ment should com­mence, which will go a long way to help the child over come hear­ing loss,” he added.

The au­di­ol­o­gist cau­tioned against un­healthy life­styles such as us­ing earphones, thereby ex­pos­ing the ear to noise and hard ob­jects, just as he urged preg­nant women to go for reg­u­lar an­te­na­tal coun­sel­ing and reg­u­lar ear check ups to avert hear­ing prob­lem.

Afo­labi main­tained that ev­ery child should un­dergo neona­tal hear­ing screen­ing to as­cer­tain the con­di­tion of his hear­ing abil­ity, as most par­ents are ig­no­rant, leav­ing the hospi­tal im­me­di­ately they are dis­charge, with­out un­der­go­ing the se­ries of med­i­cal pro­ce­dures.

He, how­ever, called for in­creased ad­vo­cacy, as hear­ing prob­lem needs se­ri­ous recog­ni­tion, just as he urged the gov­ern­ment to make its treat­ment avail­able and ac­ces­si­ble at all health cen­tres to re­duce the bur­den of deaf­ness in Nige­ria.

By Adaku Onyenucheya

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