By Justina Auta
The National Hospital Abuja, on Wednesday embarked on a free ear screening exercise to reduce the rate of hearing loss and other ear problems.
Speaking at the event, Dr Ikwu Owoicho, the Chief Consultant, Ear Nose and Throat (ENT) Department told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that the exercise was in commemoration of this year’s World Hearing Day.
Owoicho, who is also a Head and Neck Surgeon, stressed the need for early diagnosis and appropriate treatment for patients suffering from hearing problems to regain hearing loss.
He attributed some of the causes of hearing problems to drug abuse, side effects of some medications and prolonged labour, among other factors.
“The inability to hear is acquired even from labour, if a pregnant woman goes through trauma during delivery.
“It can also be acquired in our environment through the usage of drugs, unnecessary drugs that are used that can affect the ears.
“Some treatments may also affect hearing, for instance, if you are using some drugs like chemotherapy drugs or radiotherapy drugs your hearing could somehow be affected,” he said.
He therefore, advised people to desist from self-medication and drug abuses, attend ante-natal and delivery at a medical facility under experienced hands during labour to forestall any hearing impairment.
According to him, we need to let people know that we can only use drugs that are necessary for use.
“The idea of going over-the-counter to buy drugs may affect hearing,” he warned.
The expert also advised parents to monitor their children from an early age in order to check any kind of defects or challenges they might have as well as seek medical attention immediately.
“For instance, if a new baby of one month is not reacting to the environment but is taken to the hospital for diagnosis and management, it can be corrected by medical or surgical needs.
“This will help the child to develop a normal hearing ability,” he said.
He called on the Governments to provide means to reduce cost of ear treatment and management such as cochlear implant which he noted would reduce the burden on people at the grassroots.
He explained that the screening exercise, radio talk and rally were part of the activities to create more awareness on ear diseases and hearing loss.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the World Health Organisation (WHO) had reported that about 2.5 billion people globally would live with some degree of hearing loss by 2050.
It further noted that at least 700 million of them would require access to ear and hearing care as well as other rehabilitation services.