Geriatrician urges FG to make hearing aid affordable to older persons

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By Salisu Sani-Idris

Dr Ogugua Osi-ogbu, a Consultant, Geriatrician and Head, Geriatric Unit, National Hospital, Abuja, has called on the Federal Government to make hearing aids affordable to the older persons in the country.

Osi-ogbu, who is the Co-chair 1, National Senior Citizens Centre, FCT Stakeholders Consultative Forum, made the call in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), on Thursday in Abuja.

She said that wax impaction was one of the commonest causes of hearing loss or impairment in older adults.

Osi-ogbu also said that hearing loss was one of the risk factors for social isolation, adding that people who suffered from hearing loss condition easily developed depression.

“And we don’t want our older adults to suffer from such condition. That is why we collaborate very closely with the Ears, Noise and Throat (ENT) Doctors team to examine our patients, see the wax impact and deal with it.

“For some of them, that takes care of the problem, but for others, they may have to come to have the dissolved wax stringe and evacuated from the ear canal.

”It is a very simple procedure and hearing is restored after that,” she said.

Osi-ogbu debunked the wrong perception that old age was synonymous with hearing loss, visual impairment, adding that wax impaction could easily be treated, ”but only if the patient goes to the hospital.

She added: ”Everybody has the right to accept healthcare both the young and older adults.

” But in a situation where we look at older people as being entitled to have visual and hearing impairment and as such we don’t give them access to healthcare.

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” For example, a woman who has wax impaction at the age of 80, her family might just say she is 80, so she is entitled to hearing loss.

” However, the second commonest thing that we find in our older people that is age-related is sensorineural hearing loss.”

The geriatrician, therefore, urged people who were developing some impediments with hearing to quickly visit the ENT clinic for audiometric test to find out the severity of the hearing loss.

She said; “And there are those we can actually help with the use of hearing aids and our major concern now with the hearing aid is the affordability.

” So, our campaign to government and charitable organisations is that they should step in to try and make hearing aids available to our older adults.” (NAN) (www.nannews.ng)

Edited by Bashir Rabe Mani

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