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Over 8.5m Nigerians can’t hear well – WHO

Nnewi—Nnamdi Azikiwe University Teaching Hospital, NAUTH, Nnewi, Anambra State, yesterday, said unless appropriate action is taken to curb the increasing cases of hearing loss, 630 million people will have problem by 2030 in the world, while the problem will increase to 900 million by 2050.

It said that already, the problem has increased from 6.5 million people in 2008 to over 8.5 million people in 2018, and if the Federal Government fails to tackle the problem in the country, it will keep increasing and posing more challenges to the people.    

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Speaking during the celebration of 2019 World Hearing Day with the theme: ‘Check Your Hearing’, Chief Medical Director of NAUTH, Prof Anthony Igwegbe; his former counterpart, Prof Okechukeu Mbonu; Doyin of Otorninolargology in Nigeria, Prof B.C Okafor; founder of ENT Department in NAUTH, Prof Basil Ezeanolue and Head of Department of Ear Nose and Throat, NAUTH, Dr Everest Afiadigwe respectively expressed fears that the problem is increasing in Nigeria.

Chief Medical Director of the hospital, Professor Anthony Igwegbe advised members of the hospital community and the general public to always make it a point of duty to check their hearing status occasionally to be on a safe side and for whatever disorder dictated to be handled by medical experts at an early stage.

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“Since hearing loss creates disability in communication, which makes it impossible for the patient to run away from danger and other inconveniences some of the time, that it should be treated as a serious health challenge that deserved adequate attention, and henceforth, hearing test will a precondition for employment in this institution.

In a paper presentation, Afiadigwe said that a recent WHO survey of people living with hearing disabilities in some most populous nations of the world showed that the phenomenon had been on the increase, and Nigeria seem to be at the receiving end more that some of the nations affected.

“We all can see that the burden is clearly higher than could be imagined. Fortunately, a lot of the causes of hearing loss can be prevented and treatment is available for most conditions, justifying the need for awareness campaign such as this.”

He noted that it was obvious that many people had not checked their hearing status in the past one year which he said made it imperative to hold the celebration  in the institution and to conduct screening on those present, adding that the loss of hearing could be inherited or acquired.

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