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Paediatric hearing loss rates in Ghana are currently unknown.
A cross-sectional study was conducted in peri-urban Kumasi, Ghana; children (aged 3–15 years) were recruited from randomly selected households. Selected children underwent otoscopic examination prior to in-community pure tone screening using the portable ShoeBox audiometer. The LittlEars auditory questionnaire was also administered to caregivers and parents.
Data were collected from 387 children. After conditioning, 362 children were screened using monaural pure tones presented at 25 dB. Twenty-five children could not be conditioned to behavioural audiometric screening. Eight children were referred based on audiometric screening results. Of those, four were identified as having hearing loss. Four children scored less than the maximum mark of 35 on the LittleEars questionnaire. Of those, three had hearing loss as identified through pure tone screening. The predominant physical finding on otoscopy was ear canal cerumen impaction.
Paediatric hearing loss is prevalent in Ghana, and should be treated as a public health problem warranting further evaluation and epidemiology characterisation.
Millions of people across the world suffer from disabling hearing loss. Appropriate interventions lead to improved speech and language skills, educational advancement, and improved social integration. A major limitation to improving care is identifying those with disabling hearing loss in low-resource countries.
This review article summarises information on currently available hearing screening platforms and technology available from published reports and the authors’ personal experiences of hearing loss identification in low-resource areas of the world. The paper reviews the scope and capabilities of portable hearing screening platforms, including the pros and cons of each technology and how they have been utilised in low-resource environments.
Portable hearing screening tools are readily available to assess hearing loss in low-resource areas. Each technology has advantages and limitations that should be considered when identifying the optimal methods to assess needs in each country.
Medical and educational partnerships between high- and low-resourced countries provide opportunities to have a long-term meaningful impact on medical training and healthcare delivery.
An otolaryngology partnership between Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital in Kumasi, Ghana, and the University of Michigan Department of Otolaryngology/Head and Neck Surgery has been undertaken to enhance healthcare delivery at both institutions.
A temporal bone dissection laboratory, with the equipment to perform dedicated otological surgery, and academic platforms for clinical and medical education and residency training have been established.
This article describes the details of this partnership in otological surgery and hearing health, with an emphasis on creating in-country surgical simulation, training on newly acquired medical equipment and planning regarding the formulation of objectified metrics to gauge progress going forward.
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