Starkey Health Foundation: 8.5 million Nigerians have a hearing impairment

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According to the Starkey Health Foundation, no fewer than 360 million people worldwide are living with hearing impairment, out of which 8.5 million are Nigerians, reports the Nigerian Pilot.

A lack of audiologists and low levels of access to healthcare have been identified as the main factors for continued deterioration in hearing healthcare in Nigeria. The article cites comments made by the Foundation’s Director for Global Health and Research, Nigerian-born Dr. Luqman Lawal, during a Hearing Healthcare Training session held recently in Abeokuta, Ogun State (southwest Nigeria).

Dr. Lawal expressed regret that Nigeria, like other developing countries, does not prioritize treatment of hearing diseases, but only focuses on malaria and tuberculosis, and other communicable disorders. He said the Foundation had established partnerships in 52 countries and helped over 1 million people with hearing impairment in low- and middle-income countries across Sub-Saharan Africa, South-East Asia, Latin America and the Middle East.

At the training session, Professor of Audiology, Heather Jensen, pointed out the extreme lack of hearing healthcare professionals in Africa. She said that “there is one audiologist to one million people in Africa.” According to Jensen, aging, medication, noise, and infectious diseases among other causes underlie the high levels of hearing loss, and about 80% of affected people do not have access to a hearing healthcare professional or audiologist.

Source: Nigerian Pilot

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