• Thursday, April 18, 2024
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Earcare Foundation urges FG, others’ partnership on ear, hearing health

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…donates 2,000 hearing aids to invisible disability

…Celebrates World Hearing Day

Earcare Foundation has called for the collaboration of the Federal Government, industry partners and civil society organisations in driving the message on the importance of creating awareness, advocacy, educating Nigerians on ear and hearing health as well as drive World Health Organisation’s theme for this year’s World Hearing Day.

The organisers said that such areas such as support in promoting awareness; mobilising resources; advocating for policy change; fostering collaboration, and also making available access to medical and non-medical interventions, were key to achieving the desired result.

The Foundation provided full hearing assessments, 2,000 free Digital Oticon Synergy Hearing aids,1,000 packs of batteries,1,000 slim tubes and domes to one thousand Nigerians in Abeokuta, Ogun State. The donation was made during the celebration of the World Hearing Day recently.

In line with this year’s theme ‘Changing mindsets- let’s make ear and hearing care a reality for all’, Earcare Foundation partnered The Olusegun Obasanjo Foundation to provide the platform to reach the Nigerian audience, including the policymakers to bring awareness to the stigmatising mindsets and changing societal misperceptions through advocacy, awareness-raising, and information-sharing.

The event also provided the opportunity to work with other organisations like HearMax, a team of Audiologists who volunteered their skills and time.

There were also a team of ENT consultants, Audiologists, Speech therapists and nurses from the Federal Medical Centre Abeokuta who volunteered their expertise and time to help run a smooth and effective programme.

The platform provided by The Oluseun Obasanjo Foundation donated 100 earmoulds, and 200 earmoulds were also donated for infants and children by Hear Rehab Centre Abeokuta.

Participants from as far as Adamawa, Enugu, Kwara, Taraba, Imo, Lagos, Osun, and Oyo as well as the indigenes of Ogun State were in attendance at the event.

Hearing loss has often been referred to as an “invisible disability”, not just because of the lack of visible symptoms, but because it has long been stigmatised in communities and ignored by policymakers.

Globally more than 1.5 billion people experience some degree of hearing loss. Of these, an estimated 430 million have disabling hearing loss. In Nigeria, over 20.2 million reported cases of people living with disabling hearing loss according to World Health Organization and World Bank statistics from 2019, due to preventable common causes like ototoxic medicines. i.e. quinine, gentamycin and streptomycin, jaundice, measles and meningitis, exposure to loud sounds, recurrent ear infections, trauma to the ear or head, and other causes have been documented although more research and accurate data collection is needed in this field.

In children almost 60percent of hearing loss is due to causes that can be prevented through measures such as immunization from measles, improved maternal and neonatal care, screening for and early management of ear infections.

The prevalence of disabling hearing loss increases exponentially with age, rising from 15.4% among people aged in their 60’s, to 58.2percent among those aged more than 90years. Unaddressed hearing loss may be responsible for over 8percent of cases of dementia among older adults.

There is a national shortage of hearing care specialists such as audiologists and ENT specialists and little to no access to medical interventions like hearing aids, middle ear implants and cochlear implants. Where available the cost is very high which cannot be afforded by your average Nigerian.

“We at Earcare Foundation believe a Nigerian should not have to take a 25-hour drive from Adamawa State, Imo State, Enugu, Taraba, Oshogbo or Kwara state to have access to hearing assessments and or fitting of hearing aids and consumables. This is why we implore the Nigerian policymakers to work with us at Earcare Foundation to make ear and hearing care a reality for all Nigerians,” the organisers said.