Dubai, UAE: People believe that getting older is the main cause of hearing loss when it can also be a birth defect, findings of a UAE-based survey aimed at mapping behaviourial trends showed.
Results from the ‘Hear I Am’ survey showed that majority (62 per cent) believe that getting older is the principal cause of hearing loss.
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.
The survey, that questioned 451 people including the general public, individuals and parents of children with hearing loss, was conducted by the Pan Arab Research Centre Supported by the Ministry of Health and Prevention (MoHP).
Dr Hussain Abdul Rahman Al Rand, assistant under-secretary, health centres and clinics at the ministry, said: “We have been consistently highlighting the significance of early diagnosis and treatment to improve quality of people’s lives.”
Estimates from the US and Europe show that if left untreated, hearing loss may cost a person $383,000 (Dh104,274) on special schooling and other costs. Officials said that figures were comparable to the UAE. The World Health Organisation says approximately three per cent of people have disabling hearing loss in the region.
In the UAE, according to MED-EL’s 2016 survey ‘Responsiveness to hearing loss’, it was estimated that four per cent of the UAE’s community is affected by hearing loss.
When asked to foresee what their key frustration would be should they lose their hearing; 26 per cent of the general public highlighted conversation difficulties, and 20 per cent said they would fear social isolation. Only 15 per cent of those surveyed highlighted personal safety as their key concern, and another 15 per cent mentioned fear of being ridiculed.
Furthermore, 64 per cent of parents do not believe that their children’s treated hearing loss will have a negative impact on their long-term development. More than half of the parents had a neutral approach with 58 per cent saying they think that their children will do as well as everyone else in future.
© Khaleej TimesJan 2017