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Antibiotics, meningitis, others lead to hearing loss, says audiologist


Antibiotics. PHOTO CREDIT:

Hearing loss has been linked to several factors such as meningitis, measles, jaundice, antibiotics, insufficient oxygen and infection at birth among other factors.

These, according to a Clinical Audiologist, at BSA Hearing and Speech Centre, Lagos, Dr. Simeon Afolabi could lead to permanent hearing loss if not detected and treated early.

He said intake of antibiotics and drugs used in the treatment of neonatal infections, malaria, drug-resistant tuberculosis and cancer as well as lack of oxygen known as birth asphyxia, neonatal jaundice, low birth weight and infection during pregnancy such as rubella and cytomegalovirus in women can lead to hearing loss in children.

Research shows that 360 million people have hearing loss, with about 32 million being children, as the World Health Organisation (WHO) further estimates that 60 percent of hearing loss in children under the age of five is preventable.


Afolabi who spoke to The Guardian, stressed that early identification in children, especially at birth, with appropriate medical intervention can prevent hearing loss, which could hamper language and speech development as it affects social, psychological, education and economic power of the patients affecting their productivity in their work place.

He maintained that certain medical practices and interventions should be put in place at birth as children are susceptible to infections which could lead to hearing loss, adding that neonatal hearing screening should be done after birth to determine the hearing status of the child.

“There are some factors that causes hearing loss that can not be controlled. After the birth of a child, the child should undergo screening to determine their hearing status, and if discovered the child has problem with hearing, immediate treatment should commence, which will go a long way to help the child over come hearing loss,” he added.

The audiologist cautioned against unhealthy lifestyles such as using earphones, thereby exposing the ear to noise and hard objects, just as he urged pregnant women to go for regular antenatal counseling and regular ear check ups to avert hearing problem.

Afolabi maintained that every child should undergo neonatal hearing screening to ascertain the condition of his hearing ability, as most parents are ignorant, leaving the hospital immediately they are discharge, without undergoing the series of medical procedures.

He, however, called for increased advocacy, as hearing problem needs serious recognition, just as he urged the government to make its treatment available and accessible at all health centres to reduce the burden of deafness in Nigeria.

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