By Felicia Imohimi
A surgeon, Prof Titus Ibekwe, on Thursday advised parents to take their newly born babies for ear screening for detection of hearing impairment and treatment.
Ibekwe, Head of Department of Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT), University of Abuja Teaching Hospital, Gwagwalada, gave the advice in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja.
The Vice Chairman, International Advisory Board, American Academy of Otorhinolaryngology, Head and Neck Surgery Foundation, explained that ear screening would reduce the burden of hearing loss among the children in the country.
According to him, early detection is essential to addressing hearing diseases and preventing children from avoidable hearing loss.
The surgeon stressed that hearing impairment would impact negatively on the children’s quality of life.
He said that about 42 million children worldwide had hearing loss and described the figure as “unacceptable” because the burden was preventable.
Ibekwe said mothers during pregnancy exposed children to hearing impairment through lifestyle or intake of substances.
“Some of the practices or things mothers indulged in during pregnancy expose children to hearing loss. Some of such practices include lifestyle, drugs, alcohol and herbs.
“Every new born child must perform hearing screening before discharge from hospital. If we imbibe compulsory screening of children’s ears at birth most of such hearing challenges will be corrected,” he said.
He, however, advised that antenatal care must be taken very seriously to avoid some infections, illnesses and drugs that could turn off the hearing of babies before they were delivered.
The surgeon further identified immunisation as key to prevention of killer diseases associated with hearing losses at the tender stage of child development.
“Immunisation is key to prevention of some of the killer diseases associated with hearing losses at this tender stage. Such diseases are measles, rubella, meningitis and mumps, among others.
“So, mothers and caregivers must make sure they take their children for immunisation which is the right of every child at every scheduled date,” he said.