Security personnel risk developing hearing impairment due to exposure to loud sounds (acoustic trauma) which can negatively affect their performances.
These exposures usually occur in an environment where excess noise are produced, especially in the surroundings of security personnel where they are exposed to loud sounds from ammunitions and guns fired during their professional duties.
Hear Mi Ghana, a non-governmental organisation (NGO) that focuses on reducing the incidence of hearing loss in Ghana, made this known when it organised an ear and hearing screening for police officers in Akatsi and Abor in the Akatsi South and Keta Districts of the Volta Region recently.
“The extremely loud sounds with intensity are usually above 150 decibels which have the tendency of destroying sensitive structures in the inner ear resulting in sensor neural hearing loss, which could be permanent and non-reversible,”the founder of Hear Mi Ghana, Mr William Hodzi, said.
The group donated ear plugs, hearing protective equipment to the police officers.
A member of the group, Mr Kplorla Ahiawortor, an audiologist, demonstrated how to fix the ear plugs properly.
Mr William Hodzi entreated the police officers to take their ear and hearing health seriously, and always ensure that they fix the ear plugs in their ears when on duty to prevent possible hearing loss.
At the end of the screening exercise, the group treated police officers with several degrees of hearing loss caused by foreign objects in the ears, specifically cotton from q-tips, wax or cerumen impaction and otomycosis (fungal infection of the ear).
Other infections found were otitis media (middle ear infection) which were all managed instantly. Those with sensorineural hearing loss were referred to the hospital for further management.
Mr Hodzi noted that hearing was critical to the efficient performance of service personnel and important for accurate and rapid processing of speech information.
He added that service personnel, including police officers, military, customs and preventive service and prison officers,were all at high risk of developing Occupational Noise -Induced Hearing Loss (NIHL).
Occupational NIHL, he noted, was the second most common risk factors in the workplace, behind workplace injuries (citing WHO Europe,2017).
“Noise exposure contributes 22 per cent of workplace related health issues and a major cause of hearing loss,” he added.
ROML AWRENCE VOMAFAAKPALU, AKATSI SECURITY