The University of Ghana Medical Center has commemorated the World Hearing Day, themed “Ear and Hearing Care for All”, which was held on the 3rd of March, 2023, at the Medical Training Stimulation Center Auditorium.
Chief Executive Officer of the University of Ghana Medical Center, Dr. Darius Osei, had stated that the day was celebrated as part of the center’s advocacy program. He acknowledged the efforts of the Ear, Nose and Throat department of the center in its impressive growth in healthcare delivery of ear, nose and throat conditions.
”WHO has defined 3rd March as World Hearing Day to commemorate the Ear and Hearing of all issues of the world. UGMC is celebrating this day as part of its advocacy program. The ENT Department that is the Ear, Nose and Throat [department], was started two years ago, humbly and modestly with the OPD services. Gradually, it has scaled up to having a ward and has done very well on its modest beginnings with the numbers turning out as a vote of confidence. They deal with ear, nose and throat conditions together with the pediatrics team.”
The Head of UGMC Ear Nose and Throat (ENT) Department, Dr. Micheal Damah had also explained that there are plans to include a program on ear and hearing care in the educational system. He also revealed that there are training centers in hospitals as well as universities to train audiologist for the health workforce.
“We had objectives… we looked at delivering health care through our student professional development program. This particularly was set up to make sure that the educational system had a full bred program looking at Ear and Hearing care for our children. We also looked at the health work force. At the time, we had two major training schools which was an Audiology training school in Komfo Ankoye Teaching Hospital and currently we have schools such as UHAS and KNUST to train twelve audiologists by 2023,” he said.
Dr. Damah had also advised on the misuse of headsets. He emphasized on the noise level from earpieces which puts one at risk of hearing loss when at dangerous high levels.
“Using an earpiece gives one the same risk as sitting next to a loudspeaker. Now if you have to remove your earpiece in order to hear someone speak, it means it is above the threshold level. The longer you stay on that earpiece, the more damage you bring to your ear. If you’re using your earpiece beyond sixty decibels, it should not exceed twelve hours”.
According to the World Health Organization-Africa, over 136 people live with hearing loss today and by 2050, it will rise up to 336 million people. Hearing loss is expensive and causes the region to spend over 2.7$ million US dollars annually. Majority of people with hearing loss do not have access to interventions, leaving them stranded in their conditions.