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9.6pc population living with hearing impairment

Vishaal Kumar
Sunday, March 04, 2018

THERE is more hearing and ear problems in Fiji compared with other countries.

This was revealed by ear, nose and throat (ENT) specialist at the Colonial War Memorial Hospital, Dr Oh Chunghyeon, while speaking at the celebration of World Hearing Day at the Hilton Early Intervention Centre in Suva yesterday.

Dr Chunghyeon said according to Pacific Island countries hearing and ear disease prevalence estimation in 2015, about 80,000 Fijians, 9.6 per cent of the population was living with hearing impairment which was considered disabling.

"It is definitely a high prevalence compared with other countries. For example the prevalence of hearing impairment in New Zealand is 5.7 per cent," Dr Chunghyeon said.

"According to hearing and ear disease screening in Fiji, ear disease is three to five greater than other Australasian countries.

"In Fiji we have also observed school aged children who have been treated for bilateral or unilateral deafness after meningitis, mumps or rubella infection in 2017," he said

"In such cases the situation for the child may be extremely difficult as they struggle to cope with a soundless world where they cannot even hear the voice of their parents."

He said 60 per cent of childhood hearing loss was preventable and untreated hearing impairment in childhood may lead to developmental delay and results in social isolation and inability to get employment

He said early intervention and support programs could significantly reduce the negative effects of hearing impairment.

World Hearing Day is held on March 3 every year to raise awareness on how to prevent hearing loss and promote ear disease care across the world.

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