Fiji Time: 6:32 AM on Thursday 22 March

Fiji Times Logo

/ Front page / Archives » Article Index

Early detection vital

Matilda Simmons
Monday, February 26, 2018

DID you know that you could prevent 50 per cent of your hearing loss if it's detected early? It's a symptom that is easily preventable yet one that affects many children in Fiji.

According to audiologist Dr Donna Carkeet, recent research revealed the high number of ear infections among children in Fiji and the Pacific.

According to statistics, about 20 per cent of children in classrooms suffer from middle ear infection.

In Australia, it's 10 per cent. According to the experienced audiologist, that's about one in five children who could easily be treated through simple hygiene by doctors and education.

And this is something the Frank Hilton Organisation in Suva has been lobbying quite actively on.

The Frank Hilton Organisation audiology team has been conducting screening for hearing and ear health issues at Labasa Special School from February 19-20 and Na Savusavu Special School on February 21.

Frank Hilton Organisation CEO Sureni Perera said this was the second round of screening for children in special schools undertaken by them. Last year, they screened 300 children in six special schools in the West.

"We are also looking to equip children with hearing aids, train the teachers in maintenance and management of hearing aids within their schools and also conduct parent awareness programs," she said in a statement.

"We will also attempt to have teacher training workshops on appropriate communication and language development within classrooms to better support children with hearing loss."

Mrs Perera highlighted that the age for the children screened would be from birth to 18 years only as Frank Hilton Organisation is mandated to provide service to children.

"If you feel your child requires a hearing check or if you are concerned that your child does not display age appropriate language development, or if your child constantly suffers from ear pain or ear infections and is between the ages 0 and 18, then please come over and have them checked," she said.

Dr Carkeet, who does work with Frank Hilton Organisation, said early detection among children prevented acquiring future disabilities especially in speech and language development.

"The most common things we see are mild hearing loss due to hearing infection so we send them off to the doctors for treatment," she said during an earlier interview.

"One of the saddest things is you have a child at eight or nine years old who suffers from hearing loss and they've been struggling for 8-9 years and suddenly are saying the reason they're not speaking properly, the reason that they're not learning properly or the reason that they're falling behind at school is because they have hearing loss."

She said one of the main reasons for the buildup of wax in their ears was because of children not chewing properly and dehydration and recommended mothers to give them a lot of water and never poke their ears.

"Early identification of ear and hearing problems is important to minimise their effects on education and speech and language development. It allows us to treat temporary hearing problems and commence rehabilitation for those with permanent hearing loss," she said.

Frank Hilton Organisation is a part of the Fiji Crippled Children's Society, which has branches in Nausori, Ba, Lautoka and Labasa.

It has worked predominantly in Suva since the 1960s. The Frank Hilton Organisation also carries out an infant screening program at the CWM Hospital's Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) and outpatients department ensuring that infants at risk are screened at birth or soon after.

The organisation has grown rapidly during the past five years and also has departments in physiotherapy, speech therapy and community support ensuring that children with disabilities receive a holistic range of services under one roof.

Fiji Times Front Page Thumbnail

Kaila Front Page ThumbnailFiji Times & Kaila Frontpage PDF Downloads

Use the free Acrobat Reader to view.

Code Inward TTs Outward TTs
CAD 0.64740.6284
JPY 53.386250.3862
GBP 0.35270.3447
EUR 0.40460.3926
NZD 0.69590.6629
AUD 0.64750.6225
USD 0.49700.4800



Exchange Rate updated on 21st, March, 2018

Today's Most Read Stories

  1. Deadly disease
  2. SGS junior has fastest 100m time
  3. Veremalua wants another gold, a win for his daughter
  4. Free education clarification
  5. SJSS take two
  6. Datt declares NFP support
  7. Home for widow
  8. Police question 13year old for rape
  9. Simpson wins it for Grammar
  10. Drop-outs return to school

Top Stories this Week

  1. Sims' 100th game Thursday (15 Mar)
  2. Meningococcal disease outbreak Tuesday (20 Mar)
  3. Men urged to marry Thursday (15 Mar)
  4. 'Forced to go' Saturday (17 Mar)
  5. Doctors speak out Sunday (18 Mar)
  6. No desk for this girl Monday (19 Mar)
  7. Where are our horses Sunday (18 Mar)
  8. Baravilala's ode to Cessna victims Thursday (15 Mar)
  9. A star in the making Thursday (15 Mar)
  10. 12 dead by disease Tuesday (20 Mar)