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HMC helps over 5,000 patients with hearing aids.

Dr Khalid Abdul Hadi

In recognition of World Hearing Day, held each year on March 3, Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC) is holding this week a number of events to raise awareness about the rising global prevalence of hearing loss and the importance of preventative actions to protect one's hearing.

"We have arranged a number of activities including lectures, school visits, and a community day event to raise the public's awareness of hearing loss, which affects over 466 million people worldwide," said Dr Khalid Abdul Hadi, senior consultant, Hearing and Balance Disorders and director of the Audiology and Balance Unit.

Over 5,000 patients have been fitted with hearing aids by the Audiology and Balance Unit which also helped 245 patients hear again, or in some cases for the first time, by providing them with cochlear implants, since opening in 2003.

The Audiology and Balance Unit provides a comprehensive diagnosis and treatment programme, caring for adults and children who are experiencing hearing loss. The early diagnosis of hearing loss in children is especially important, as hearing impairments can lead to delayed development of listening and spoken language skills.

Qatar is recognised as a leader in the early detection of hearing weakness and loss due to the establishment of the National Center for Early Detection of Hearing Loss. Established in 2003, the programme provides hearing screenings to all babies born in Qatar prior to their discharge from the hospital. Under the programme, all babies are tested again when they have their first vaccination, normally between two to three months of age and children are also screened prior to starting school.

One of the most diagnosed conditions treated at the Audiology and Balance Unit is sensorineural hearing loss. Acquired sensorineural hearing loss, which occurs after birth, can be caused by a number of factors, including aging, noise, disease or infection, and trauma. In contrast, congenital sensorineural hearing loss, a condition that is present at birth, can be either inherited or caused by abnormal development during pregnancy. More than 600 children and adults are treated for sensorineural hearing loss every year at the Audiology and Balance Unit.

Dr Abdul Hadi highlighted the example of a long-term patient, a young Qatari girl, who was born deaf in 2008 but was able to hear after being treated for sensorineural hearing loss.

"Rouda was born at Women's Hospital in 2008 and a day after her birth received a routine hearing test offered to all newborn babies as part of the National Programme for Early Detection of Hearing Loss. Hearing loss was suspected and her parents were advised to return two weeks later for another test," explained Dr. Abdul Hadi.

Cochlear implants are devices that can provide sound for people who receive little or no benefit from hearing aids. In some cases, a cochlear implant may be more successful than hearing aids because the devise converts sound into electrical signals that bypass the damaged cochlea and directly stimulate the hearing nerve.

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Publication:Gulf Times (Doha, Qatar)
Date:Mar 5, 2018
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