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Hearing Care: Expert Advocates Speedy Implementation of National Strategic Plan

Prof. Titus Ibekwe, Head of Department, Ear, Nose and Throat, University of Abuja Teaching Hospital, Gwagwalada has urged the Federal Government to immediately implement the National Policy and Strategic Plan for Ear and Hearing Care.

Hearing care: Expert advocates speedy implementation of national strategic plan
Prof. Titus Ibekwe HOD, Ear, Nose and Throat UNIAbuja Teaching Hospital
Ibekwe told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Tuesday in Abuja that the implementation of the plan would go a long way in reducing hearing challenges in the country.

“In 2018, the Federal Government launched an Ear and Hearing care policy for Nigeria of which I was one of the key technical working group members that drafted this policy.

“This document entails hearing screening, hearing conservation, hearing aids, cochlear implants and indeed, all devices that can be used to improve the lives of people whose hearing is down.’’

The surgeon said the document, launched in November 2018, should be prioritised considering what it was meant to address.

He also said the document would serve as a blueprint to guide the activities geared toward prevention of ear diseases and hearing loss.

According to him, it will also boost the efforts at early detection of hearing loss, intervention, rehabilitation and support services to people living with the disease in the country.

Ibekwe described the document as comprehensive and evidence-based intervention to prevent, identify and treat ear diseases and hearing loss through the country’s health system.

He said the prevention and early identification through a public health approach remained the most effective alternative in the fight against hearing loss.

“It is worthy of note that as people aged, they have hearing loss. In adult, evidence has shown that it starts from 65 and above.But nowadays, from 50 years upward, some people start losing their hearing ability.

“Something needs to be done, in fact, it is known that one in every three adults, 65 years and above has hearing loss; you can imagine how significant and urgent this policy is.

“The ear gradually loses its hearing function following advancement in age (Presbyacusis), with statistics of 1:3 disabling hearing loss from 65 years and above,’’ Ibekwe said.

He described the ear as window to human critical development, including proper cognitive functions, adding that it offered good quality of life.

The professor, however, noted that there was need to take good care of “our hearing.”

According to him, the quick implementation of hearing policy documents would also go a long way in assisting the young and aged to address their hearing challenges.

NAN reports that the World Health Organisation (WHO), in its recent report, said that one in three adults, aged 65, and above has hearing loss worldwide.

According to WHO, “ 250 million people in the world have disabling hearing impairment (moderate/worse hearing impairment in the better ear, see: grades of hearing impairment), two third of these people live in developing countries.

“Half of deafness and hearing impairment is avoidable.

“Adult-onset hearing loss ranks 15th among the leading causes of the Global Burden of Disease (GBD), and 2nd in the leading causes of Years Lived with a Disability (YLD),’’ it said.
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