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WHO outlines ways to mitigate childhood hearing loss

WHO outlines ways to mitigate childhood hearing loss

Protection of children

As the world marks annual advocacy day for hearing loss, a new World Health Organisation (WHO) report has listed ways to prevent and manage the surge among children.

According to WHO, nearly 32 million children across the world live with disabling loss. A new report , “Childhood hearing loss: act now, here’s how”, suggests that 60% of this can be prevented.

The report also states that if hearing loss is detected early enough and children receive the care they need, they can reach their full potential.

But this doesn’t have to happen. We have a range of tools to help prevent, detect and treat childhood hearing loss

The director of the WHO Department for Management of Noncommunicable Diseases, Disability, Violence and Injury Prevention, Dr Etienne Krug said a child who struggles to hear may also struggle to learn to speak, underachieve at school and end up socially isolated.

“But this doesn’t have to happen. We have a range of tools to help prevent, detect and treat childhood hearing loss,” he added.

According to WHO, there are many causes of childhood hearing loss. The body said it estimates that 40 percent is attributed to genetic causes, 31 percent to infections such as measles, mumps, rebella and meningitis, and 17 percent to complications at birth including prematurity.

An estimated 4 percent results from expectant mothers and new-born unknowingly using medicines that are harmful to hearing.

On mitigating the impact of hearing loss, the report said identification of those children with hearing loss helps to trigger the needed interventions, such as the provision of hearing devices and other communication therapies.

It further said hearing screen programmes for infants, and pre-school and school-based children, alongside hearing care training for health professionals, can dramatically improve the lives of children.