‘Many school children have hearing problem’

Dr Uma (second right), Dr Doris (right) and Lau (second left) switching on the lighting of the cochlear replica to launch the programme while Dr Wong looks on.

MIRI: Some 33 to 50 per cent of school children in the country have hearing loss problem of various types.

In saying this, former Miri Hospital director Dr Uma Devi added this was now an area of concern as it might lead to social problems for the affected child.

She said this when representing Assistant Minister of Communications Datuk Lee Kim Shin to officiate at the Hearing Awareness Campaign & Introduction to the Cochlear Implant Programme at Bintang Megamall yesterday.

Dr Uma elaborated around 4.42 to 6.13 per cent of population in South East Asia are hearing impaired.

As such, she pointed out it was the routine to screen every newborn baby since 2012 to introduce early intervention if the child was found to have a hearing problem.

She further said cochlear implant in aid of the hearing impaired was very expensive which cost RM70,000.

Patients in the country have received cochlear implant done in the United States of America and Australia.

On the campaign, she praised the organiser Otorhinolaryngology Department (ORL) of Miri Hospital for organising such an event.

She said the objective of the campaign was to create awareness and increase knowledge among the public about hearing diseases, hearing assessment and the current treatment options for ear diseases and hearing loss, especially for children.

Meanwhile, in conjunction with the hearing awareness campaign, the cochlear implant programme will also be introduced.

The cochlear implant is an expensive hearing device that is implanted in the inner ear to improve hearing for children with hearing loss.

Children with hearing disabilities will have speech problems.

In light of this, early intervention for children with hearing impairment is essential to improve their language outcomes and subsequent school performances.

The activities conducted during the campaign were hearing screening for children below 12 years old, ear examination (for all ages), seminars, posters exhibition and exhibition booths by hearing aids companies on the latest hearing aids.

Among those present were Miri Hospital director Dr Jack Wong, the organising chairperson Dr Doris Evelyn Jong and the owner of Bintang Megamall Dato Prof Lau Siu Wai.

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