The problem of hearing has been shown to be growing and spreading rapidly around the world, a situation that has led to the adoption due to its magnitude and impact.
In addressing the challenges posed by global health problems, the World Health Organization has identified the need for a special day to raise awareness among the people.
Currently more than 1.5 billion people have hearing problems in the world with the majority of victims being children and the elderly.
What statistics say
According to World Health Organization (WHO) figures, more than 5% of the world’s 466 million people have hearing problems among them 432 million adults and 34 million children.
In 2020, Zanzibar examined people with hearing impairment at Mnazimmoja Hospital where out of 9,490 people, 294 were diagnosed with hearing problems and were in need of hearing aids
but only 34 patients were able to afford the equipment which costs 900,000 shillings per pair. ZOP was committed to help half of the costs.
“The counseling exercise is done at Mnazimmoja Hospital free of charge and those diagnosed with hearing problems are given treatment,” said Dr. Noufal.
ENT specialist, at Mnazimmoja Hospital, Dr, Masoud Hakim Bakar said described using earphones for a long time as a health hazard and advised workers in industrial areas to use equipment that would block loud noise through their ears.
Asha Ali Kombo, a resident of Nyerere commended ZOP for supporting people with hearing problem, saying, “I visited Mnazimmoja Hospital with a hearing problem, after the test was done I could not afford all treatment costs but (ZOP) met some of the costs and I now feel normal”, she said.
The importance of earlier diagnosis of hearing problem
The ear is the main organ of hearing. A child learns to say or pronounce words at the age of two. A child with limited hearing may be slow to speak or may not know how to speak fluently. A child who has lost attention, may not be able to speak.
It is important to ensure that a baby is given full attention from birth or within the first two years of life. If babies born with hearing problems are diagnosed earlier, the effects may decrease significantly after immediate treatment.
The hearing microphone is the first way to help a deaf person. Hearing Microphones used by hearing-impaired people after a diagnosis have been made to have limited hearing ability and the auditory nerve is not completely damaged.
Children with hearing problems benefit greatly from the use of hearing aids and if used properly, they are as likely to hear and speak as fluently as other children.
The second method is sign language which is designed to help children with hearing impairments to communicate through hand and finger gestures.
A person who after examination will be found to be deaf (his or her auditory nerve is completely affected) will not use a microphone, but still has the opportunity to communicate using this sign language.
It is important for a child who does not benefit from using a microphone to be taught sign language so that he or she can communicate and read like other children.
For children using microphones they need special attention to learn words and sign language. The ZOP has set up special schools for such children with the aim of developing them.
In providing solutions to people with hearing problems, the Ministry of Health through the ZOP project provides services at the Mnazimmoja Referral Hospital.
In Pemba, treatment and equipment are provided at Chake Chake hospital where the patient is also examined to find out if his problem can be treated.