Don't ignore signs of hearing loss, it grows worse with time

A survey done in 2017 showed that people in the UAE believed that getting older is the main cause of hearing loss.
A survey done in 2017 showed that people in the UAE believed that getting older is the main cause of hearing loss.

In the UAE, it is estimated that hearing loss affects approximately four per cent of the population.



By Asma Ali Zain

Published: Sat 29 Sep 2018, 10:00 PM

Last updated: Sun 30 Sep 2018, 9:57 PM

A growing number of patients in the UAE are benefitting from the increased local availability of high-tech devices to treat hearing loss.
Experts believe that the advanced devices are giving hope of a more lasting solution, and are increasingly available in the UAE.
Among the most successful alternatives is the Cochlear Implant which, rather than simply amplifying sound, uses electrical signals to stimulate the auditory nerve, said an ENT specialist at Healthpoint in Abu Dhabi.
In the UAE, it is estimated that hearing loss affects approximately four per cent of the population. Not to mention the growing number of undiagnosed people who are unaware of their hearing loss issues.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates that 5.2 per cent of the world's population suffers from hearing loss. It also estimates the financial cost of hearing loss to be $750 billion every year but the cost is also personal and contributes to an individual's overall health. Untreated hearing loss affects communication and can lead to social isolation, anxiety, depression and cognitive decline.
According to Dr Bernard Hoffman, head of the ENT department at Healthpoint, many patients find their condition growing worse over time. As hearing deteriorates, the most common treatment - wearing a hearing aid to amplify sound entering the ear - will gradually become less effective.
"The exponential growth of technology has given individuals a new lease, by removing any obstacles that stop them from experiencing life with all of their physical faculties, and in good health," said Dr Hoffman.
A survey done last year showed that people in the UAE believed that getting older is the main cause of hearing loss when it can also be a birth defect. Regardless of the reason, previous studies show that typically, people wait an average of 10 years between first noticing signs of hearing loss and getting tested, and almost half of those surveyed indicated that this is mainly due to affected people not noticing as they believe it's a gradual process.
Dr Hussain Abdul Rahman Al Rand, assistant under-secretary of health centres and clinics at the Ministry of Health and Prevention(MoHP), said: "We have been consistently highlighting the significance of early diagnosis and treatment to improve the quality of people's lives."

'I couldn't imagine I would be able to hear with clarity again'

At the age of 32, Eisa Khamis is a UAE patient who can finally hear clearly, thanks to the advances in technology. Eisa's condition began to take effect when he was eight years old, gradually getting worse until a hearing aid was of little help in breaking through the silence. With loss of hearing, his speech also lost some of its clarity.
Eisa suffers from progressive sensorineural hearing loss in both ears, brought on by an enlarged vestibular aqueduct. This is the area that houses the cochlea, which detects sound waves, enabling us to hear. In December 2017, Eisa underwent a quick surgery at Healthpoint to fit a Cochlear Implant. Dr Bernard Hoffman, head of the ENT department at Healthpoint, says the results have been dramatic. It was like Eisa had never suffered from hearing loss at all.
"Eisa was emotional when we activated the Cochlear Implant for the first time, as he couldn't imagine the possibility of being able to hear with such clarity again," said Dr Hoffman. "The implant not only has the ability to provide close-to-real sound transmission, but can also connect to other forms of technology, and integrate into the patient's everyday life, thus enhancing the overall quality of living. Such is the leap technology has taken from the humble hearing aid that was Eisa's only option back in 1994."

What is Cochlear Implant?

The Cochlear Implant treats sensorineural hearing loss, caused by damage to the nerves that process sound and which is the most common form of hearing loss, rather than conductive hearing loss caused by a blockage or obstruction within the ear.
The device has two parts. The  external part works like a hearing aid by collecting the sound, which it transmits via the skin to the receiver or stimulator implanted surgically into the inner ear.
The receiver converts the sound signals into electric signals which stimulate the hearing nerve.

KT NANO EDIT

Healthcare for happiness
The structured and focused approach of regulators and authorities has resulted in the emirates becoming a regional hub of medical tourism. Residents no longer prefer to hop on a flight for treatment. And now as the gamut of expertise and offerings is expanding fast, it is a win for the vision of the leadership, the emirates and the people.
asmaalizain@khaleejtimes.com
 


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