Causes of Hearing Loss in Developing Countries
The two primary kinds of hearing loss in developing countries are congenital and acquired. Congenital causes can come from a family history of hearing loss, prenatal factors or complications during childbirth. Severe infection during pregnancy often passes onto the baby. Low birth weight, a lack of oxygen during birth, premature birth or preeclampsia are all contributors to hearing loss in newborns.
Effects on Children
Unlike further developed countries, mothers and families are unable to screen their newborns during and after pregnancy. Approximately 34 million children have disabling hearing loss, and the majority of these children suffer socially and emotionally. Without the ability to communicate effectively, these children end up isolated within their homes. They can not receive an education, so in their adult life, they remain illiterate. A lack of education means higher unemployment rates throughout the country.
Organizations and Advocacy
Children must be immunized against severe diseases to aid hearing loss in developing countries. Mothers must be encouraged to take medications needed during their pregnancies properly, and earlier screenings on newborns need to be readily available. World Wide Hearing provides affordable hearing aids to countries lacking hearing clinics. With less than 10% of hearing aid distribution worldwide, World Wide Hearing ensures the deaf’s social inclusivity.
By preventing disease and providing needed resources, these organizations can limit the detriment of hearing loss in developing countries. Starting with the youth will benefit the economy as more children go to school and have jobs readily available. Age-related hearing loss must be managed through implementing active communication catered towards the deaf. Young or old, the deaf community will attain a better quality of life and socioeconomic confidence with accessible programs.
– Sydney Stokes
Photo: Wikimedia Commons