Hearing help out of reach for most in Pakistan

The prevalence of hearing loss in Pakistan is 1.6 percent per 1,000 population and rising, according to an ENT surgeon at Allama Iqubal Medical College/Jinnah Hospital. Professor Rashid Zia says that 70% of the country’s population is facing challenges of hereditary hearing loss. The WHO estimates that 278 million people worldwide have a disabling hearing impairment and this could increase to 700 million by 2015 and 900 by 2025. Unfortunately, hearing loss help is available in Pakistan to only one in 40 people mainly because of the high cost of hearing aids. Zia revealed that 94 per cent people facing acute hearing loss problems could be treated completely in any age through surgeries and medication after proper and accurate diagnosis.

He said that three major factors, including cousin marriage, use of medicines for controlling infection during first two months of pregnancy and poor access to the basic treatment needs of maternal and child, were associated with hearing disorders of various forms. He said cousin marriages were a big source of deafness by birth as 70 per cent of hearing loss arose in consanguineous families.

Source: Dawn.com

Rose Simpson