Calls For Early Screening For Hearing Impairment

Medical practitioners from Nandi County have called upon Kenyans to get screened for hearing loss for early diagnosis and intervention.

Led by Speech and Language Therapist Mr. Stephen Kittur the practitioners expressed fears that those impaired with hearing loss were not awarded the attention they deserved by both the general public and the health sector.

Speaking at Kapsabet fire station during this year’s World Hearing Day theme ‘Changing Mindsets: Let’s Make Ear and Hearing Care a Reality for All,’ Kittur said deafness is here with us and unless we do something about it, it will become the next pandemic that is going to affect the majority of people in our community.

‘Hearing loss has been ignored for a very long time. We need to address the issue of hearing impairment not just in children but also in adults. Can we have our children and adults get screened for early intervention’ he said.

He said in Nandi, we have equipment like ABR machine, Tympanometer, Audiometer, and Visual Reinforcement Audiomet
er among others at Kapsabet County referral hospital that can be used to address the assessment, comprehensive screening and identification of hearing loss and provide intervention.

Kittur who is also a National Programme’s Coordinator at Children’s Speech and Hearing Loss Organization (CHISHLO) said their focus is on children who are between the ages of 0 to 5years to help them identify the prevalence of hearing loss while still young and allow them to receive early intervention services while it is still possible.

‘Our role is to go into schools, churches, and in the community to identify these conditions before it’s too late and give those people a chance to hear and speak well and let them know there is a solution for hearing loss. Don’t just sit there and imagine you are too old or too young to be assisted. Hearing loss can be addressed and treated if it is identified on time,’ he said.

Ms. Emmy Chulai, a clinician at Kapsabet Hospital, who specializes in ear, nose and throat called on locals to have
regular check-ups as a strategy for preventing deafness adding that so far they have screened, treated, and referred 6,450 children.

She said the drugs we use at times can also bring about hearing loss, especially over-the-counter drugs calling on Kenyans to be careful and use drugs that have been subscribed by specialists who know the side effects of the drugs.

‘Hearing loss is a concern and because it is an invisible disability, even the policymakers have ignored it. We are advocating that during the planning stage, resources should be allocated and hearing care factored in to assist the children of our people. Our take-home message is deafness is not a curse or old age related but sickness which is preventable when detected on time,’ she said.

Source: Kenya News Agency