By Linda Ike
The Ear Nose Throat (ENT) Department and Geriatric Unit of the National hospital, Abuja have advocated constant screening of ears for the aged people in the country .
The health workers called for the need for parents to monitor their children from zero to five years to avoid contracting the disease that causes deafness.
Acting Chief Medical Director (CMD) of the hospital, Dr. Abba Badamasi gave the indication on Friday at an event to commemorate the 2023 World hearing day in Abuja.
Badamasi said the World hearing day is celebrated on every March 3, to raise awareness of deafness and hearing loss prevention, and to promote ear and hearing care worldwide.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) had on Thursday in its statement stated that about 1.35 million people living in Africa have deafness or hearing loss, the number which the organisatíon said may increase to 338 million by 2050 if not checked.
It also stated that Africa loses nearly 30 billion US dollars to ear problems, noting that over 60 percent of the common ear diseases and hearing loss can be detected and often managed at the primary level of care.
Speaking further, Bandanas said this year’s celebration which has the theme “Ear and hearing care for all, let’s make it a reality” was to campaign against the menace to forestall its spread.
According to him, health care workers are looking out for the affected people with a view to sensitizing those who are at risk of being affected.
He said ” today is world hearing day, it’s a day where the world is looking out for those who have challenge with hearing, and we the healthcare workers will try to sensitize those who have the hearing challenge and those who are at risk to make sure they don’t become challenged with hearing.
“We look out for them and see how we can assist them and make them comfortable, and also screen as many as possible those who come to the hospital because they might have hearing challenge or those we think that have the problem.
“We are sensitizing people and some of our staff will go out to the town and spread this message, and then try and also screen some of the population where we think they might have challenge with hearing and those who are at risk of being affected and refer the appropriate care”.
The CMD said that 2023 hearing day is focused on the aged people to access and educate them on how to avoid the hearing challenges.
” You know the aged people are not as, thier body is, not as fresh as those who are young, if you can imagine someone who is five year old, his health, his heart, his lungs their position didn’t work as that of 90 year old person, so naturally the body organs of the old persons are tired, the risk are there, that’s why we try to look out for that population and make sure that we try to access them, care for them and tell them how to avoid those challenges”. Badamasi said.
The Consultant Physician, Department of Internal Medicine, National Hospital, Ogugua Osiogbu said age is not a disease but a risk factor for disease conditions.
She said the common factor that can cause ear problem for the aged people is waxing impaction which can be treated in the hospital.
Osiogbu canvassed for medical access for the aged people, stating that they have rights to healthcare like every other person in the society.
“For us in Geriatrics department, our care is disciplinary, because older adults seem to have multiple issues, what we refer to as poor morbidity, multi morbidity, age is not a disease right? But it a big risk factor for disease conditions that we describe as a multiple disease of heart issues, kidney issues, issues with the lungs, joints which makes morbidity a concern and sensitive impediment, virtual hearing so one of those sensitive impediment is why we are here today,
“We care for our ears, prevent hearing impediment, unfortunately, increasing age is a big risk for hearing impediment, but I must also say that the commonest thing that will cause hearing impediment in older adults is waxing impaction, but if you decide to leave your 85 years old parents at home and say mama is old so she can’t hear and you don’t take her to the hospital, we are not going to decide for her that she has wax impaction. It’s a very simple treatment, just putting a wax dissolve, and mama can hear again.
“So our older adults must be given access to Health care, they have rights like everybody else whether you are a new born or a 95 year old, you have a right to healthcare.
“The other major concern or major cause of hearing impediment in them is what we describe as sensorineural hearing lumps, and for that they often require hearing aids and these are often very expensive for them to get, so our campaign to government and charitable organisations is to make this hearing aids available and affordable for our older adults”. She disclosed.
The Consultant Physician added that healthcare workers are concerned about hearing impediment of the aged people hence those affected experience difficulty to engage with the society thus preventing them from passing information to the young people especially the history of culture and customs.
“We are concern about hearing impediment because when people are hearing impaired, they are not able to engage with the Society, it means our older adults who have all the information to pass unto younger once, the history of culture and custom, if they are hearing impaired, they are not able to fill in that role, so it’s important that we take care of our older adults with hearing impediment, and also ensure as people are getting old that they avoid those things that bring about hearing impediment. Hearing is one of those attributes that people require to socially engage.
“We have more than 40 million older adults who are 60 years and above in Nigeria, we want to make sure that they remain healthy, ‘m glad that we are here today to raise this awareness on hearing, so if there is an issue with your 90 year old, 75 year old with hearing, please make sure they go to hospital,
don’t leave them at home and just say mama or papa is old and is entitled to hearing loss.” She encouraged.
On her part, the Ear Nose Throat (ENT) Consultant Surgeon, Nse Obong advised the general public to avoid the use of ear piece to listen to loud music, stating that it causes noice induced hearing loss which is contracted by excessive exposure to loud sounds.
She also said that the use of ear drops randomly can attract hearing loss, and advised that people should use it on recommendation by medical practitioners.
Obong advocated that Government should either subsidize or provide free supply of hearing aids to the affected ones, especially those from poor homes who cannot afford about 5 million naira implant.
“Now the idea today is that we want to prevent the menace and we want people to be aware of so many things that might cause hearing problems.
“Right from the pregnant woman that has a baby in her womb, if she takes some drugs, it might actually cause that baby in the womb to become deaf, and the baby will be born deaf, so we are educating people to be sure that they do not cause the hearing problem for themselves, for instance, it is very trending right now to use ear phones, ear plugs to listen to a very loud music, there is something called noise induced hearing loss, and it is as a result of excessive exposure to very loud sounds, like the soldiers that are in the shooting ranges, so all those things cause problems with hearing, so we are trying to educate the public, we don’t want people to be using ear drops at randomly.
“Again, don’t walk into a pharmacy and buy ear drop, because some of those ear drops can actually causing hearing loss,
Some hearing problem can be treated by surgery, but there are some that need hearing aids but they are out of reach for the common persons. So, avoid exposing your hear to that large sound for a long time because it can damage it.” She said.
This year’s celebration which has the theme “Ear and hearing care for all, let’s make it a reality” was to campaign against the menace to forestall its spread.