Lanka’s hearing impairment could rise to 30 p.c.September 11, 2012, 9:55 pm
By Dilanthi Jayamanne
The Health Ministry warned yesterday that the number of persons with hearing impairments in the country would increase to 30 percent within the next 18 years, from the current nine per cent.
A Ministry spokesman said that over two hundred new children with hearing ailments received treatment annually at the Lady Ridgeway Children’s Hospital and 3, 074 children in Sri Lanka suffer hearing impairments while there are over 52,500 children with hearing difficulties receiving education. The Health Ministry has initiated a National Programme for Hearing Impairment and Deafness in collaboration with the WHO and the College of Otolaryngology specialists (ear, nose, and throat - ENT specialists).
The Ministry would initiate its pilot project under the National Programme in MOH areas of Colombo, Jaffna, Galle and Kandy training doctors in MOH offices in cleaning ear wax. This would prevent people from harming their own ears by using various implements such as hairpins, ear buds and other ear cleaning devices. Many people damaged their eardrums while cleaning them and even by putting oil into their ears. Some were born deaf. He said that mothers should be careful when taking medicinal drugs which have side effects during pregnancy. They could cause hearing problems in their children. Mumps and meningitis too could cause hearing impairments, he said.
The spokesman said the WHO would also provide the MOH offices with the necessary equipment.
A person with a hearing impairment cannot be identified. He said that this had also led to them being at risk while travelling on roads. Ear infections could not only lead to hearing problems but also could affect the brain, he said.
A midterm review of the programme would be carried out in 2014 to assess the success of the pilot project. He said that the second phase of the project which is scheduled to commence in year 2015 would involve educating the public.
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