ISLAMABAD: Doctors stressed the importance of continuing efforts to raise awareness of hearing loss and ways to prevent it and to promote early detection as it is the cornerstone of prevention and treatment.
Talking to PTV news in connection with the World Hearing Day being observed on March 3, consultant audiologist Dr Shahid Akhtar Rajput said the advancement in medical science had solved a lot of problems of those who couldn't hear, but still there was a need to create awareness to save people from disability by taking preventive steps.
He also appreciated the effort of Pakistan for celebrating this day as it provides an opportunity to raise community awareness of hearing impairment and ways to protect your hearing from the damage caused by loud noise. Getting an early screening can prevent hearing loss, he added.
Dr Rajput said that deafness or low hearing is either by birth or acquired, with the three stages of the problem ranging from mild, moderate to severe loss of hearing. He said that the traffic police, drivers of heavy vehicles and others using pressure horns and people associated with the industry sector should be addressed in the awareness seminars to get the desired results.
He said this year’s theme was "Check Your Hearing" to raise awareness on how to prevent deafness and hearing loss and promote ear care across the world.
Each year, the World Health Organization (WHO) decides the theme and develops a brochure on the topic based on the best available evidence as well as advocacy materials such as posters, banners, infographics and presentations, among others, he added.
"There are many causes of hearing loss, apart from getting old. It can be hereditary or acquired. It can be triggered by a blast of loud noise, infections, misuse of ototoxic drugs, effects of toxin or by head injury," he said.
In recent years, an increasing number of member states and other partner agencies have joined World Hearing Day by hosting a range of activities and events in their countries including Pakistan.
He emphasised the need to implement cost-effective population-based screenings and early detection programmes, strengthen national health system, referral mechanisms for suspected hearing loss facilities and treatment services.
He urged the government to encourage production of hearing aids at local level for their availability at low price. People should check their hearing from time to time, especially those who are at a higher risk of hearing loss such as people above 50 years, those working in noisy places, listening to music at high volume for long periods of time and those experiencing ear problems, he advised.
Routine hearing tests are offered to newborn babies and children to identify any problems early on in their development.
He also stressed the need for people living in rural areas to get their newborn kids hearing tested and to consult experts instead of using home remedies.
He said almost 60 per cent of the country's population faces challenges of hereditary hearing loss.
Dr Rajput said people with hearing loss can benefit from the use of hearing devices, such as hearing aids and cochlear implants.