Over 200,000 Ghanaians have hearing impairment – Study

 More than 200,000 Ghanaians suffer from Hearing Impairment (HI), a study con­ducted on 80 per cent of Ghana­ian population has revealed.

The West Africa Centre for Cell Biology of Infectious Pathogens (WACCBIP) that conducted the study has therefore, tasked the government to, as a matter of urgency, implement measures to reverse the trend of HI in the country.

Per the study, 60 per cent of the HI was genetically related while the cause of the remaining 40 per cent could be associated with certain environmental factors and ailments such as measles, cerebro­spinal meningitis (CSM) among other medical conditions.

To this end, WACCBIP on Friday, as part of activities to mark the World Hearing Day which falls on March 3 every year, launched an HI resource guide, which provides hearing impaired and hard of hearing individuals, families and the public with basic information and contact details organisations and schools that offer assistive services to the deaf community in Ghana.

This year’s celebration is being held on the theme “Ear and Hearing Care for all! Let us make it a reality.”

Launching it, Mr Andrew M. Nantogma, Head of Communi­cations of WACCBIP called on the general public to ensure they submitted themselves for genetic counseling and screening to know their status, seek help if needed, to reduce their risk of suffering from HI.

He said HI occurred when any part of the ear nerve and auditory system stops working as expected.

Touching on the common risk factors of the condition, he ex­plained that one out of two cases of HI in babies was caused by a genetic disorder, adding that one out of three babies with genetic HI had other medical conditions in addition to the HI.

Also, he noted that one out of four cases of HI in babies was due to maternal infections acquired during pregnancy, com­plications after birth and head trauma.

According to Mr Nantogmah, parents must always pay attention to signs of HI in children and babies which included delayed speech, not startling at loud noise and not turning towards the di­rection or source of sound after six months.

He also warned the public against exposure to sounds with high volumes often, as that could damage the eardrums.

A senior research fellow, WACCBIP, Mr Peter Quarshie, regretted that HI was gradually becoming a silent epidemic, add­ing that more than five per cent of the world’s population had hearing problems.

He recommended that every member of the public must ensure they pay attention to activities or conditions that pre­disposed them to HI and take the necessary precautions.


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