ECONOMIC IMPACT OF HEARING LOSS IN GHANA
Currently in Ghana the cost of one hearing aid is between Ghc4000 – Ghc 6000 which means if you have Hearing Loss in one ear you are actually looking at the region of GHC 4000. Maintenance ( batteries, regular cleaning schedules, scheduled audiological assessment etc) not included.
Now Ghana is a middle income and a developing country let ask ourselves this question:
CAN THE ORDINARY GHANAIAN AFFORD ONE HEARING AID AND KEEP UP WITH MAINTENANCE?
The most recent study reported the prevalence of Hearing Impairment (HI) to be about 6.8% (Wilson et al, 2017). HI is more prevalent in South Asia, Asia Pacific, and sub-Saharan Africa than the other parts of the world.
In Africa, 6.8 million (1.9%) people are living with hearing loss defects (WHO, 2014), with environmental factors reported as the predominant cause of the disorder (Amedofu et al., 2006).
In January, 1999, a prevalence study was carried out in a Ghanaian village called Adamarobe that was known to have a number of Hearing Impairment (HI) citizens. The results of the study stated that a total of 45 deaf people were identified in 14 families based on their physical examination and family history (Amedofu et al., 1999).
The incidence of hearing impairment in this village was calculated as 23.7 per 1000 when a better ear hearing level of >25 dB was used (Amedofu et al., 1999).
Other studies in Ghana since Adamarobe findings:
A report from Komfo Anokye Teaching hospital (KATH) stated that there is an overall increase in the number of patients (from 3.7% to 15.5%) with hearing loss who visited the hospital between 1999 and 2004 (Amedofu et al, 2006).
According to the researchers, the increased number of hearing impaired patients was due to awareness about the Hearing Assessment Center in Kumasi (Amedofu et al., 2006).
Awuah and his coworkers in the year 2006 screened 268 patients suffering from different forms of ENT disease, who visited the KATH. They enrolled 188 patients of whom 51 were diagnosed of acute otitis media (AOM). The prevalence of HI among the AOM patients was calculated as 91.3%; thus 37 out of the 51 patients were further diagnosed of HI (Awuah et al., 2012).
In Accra, there was a similar study where 66.3% (474 out of 715) patients who visited the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital (KBTH) in the year 2013 were screened and diagnosed of HI (Nyako, 2013).
Hearing Loss is on the rise with the economy, Can these victims keep up with the trends in affordability and availability of Hearing aids?
Their jobs will be affected
Their relationship will be affected
Their families will be affected
Those who depend on them will be affected
The community will be affected
The district, region and nation as a whole, do all you can to HEAR FOR LIFE, DONT LET HEARING LOSS LIMIT YOU IN THIS LIFE.
Visit any EAR NOSE AND THROAT CLINIC IN THE VOLTA REGION AND HAVE YOUR HEARING ASSESSED
WORLD HEARING DAY
Hearing for life
Apostle Kwesi Naami
Ear, Nose and Throat (Otorhinolaryngology) Nurse Specialist
Catholichospital Battor ENT Clinic