Half a billion people, or 6.8% of the global population, have disabling hearing loss, according to a new report published in Lancet.
Despite advances in screening and treatment, many children between birth and 5 years of age are not receiving the benefits of early hearing detection and intervention, according to a 2007 report by the Joint Committee on Infant Hearing [PDF]. Although 98% of all newborns are screened for hearing loss in the United States, this is not the case in developing countries. Without proper screening and treatment, children are at risk for delayed acquisition of spoken language and lower literacy than their normally hearing peers—potentially compromising their educational attainment.
In an effort to address this issue, Debara L. Tucci, MD, has been working with colleagues in Nairobi, Kenya, to develop a newborn hearing screening program. “We have screened thousands of children at Kenyatta National Hospital at the University of Nairobi, and we have hearing aids ready to fit them, if they need it,” she said.| | | Next → | Single Page