Frequent use of antibiotics may cause hearing loss – Audiologist
Parents who give their children unprescribed antibiotics may unknowingly cause hearing loss,
warns Mrs. Jemima Fynn, the Head Audiologist at the Hearing Assessment Centre of the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital in Accra.
Some common antibiotics available in the market can damage the sensory cells in the ears, leading to permanent hearing impairment.
While certain newborns may have congenital hearing loss, untreated ear infections and the use of ototoxic medications like antibiotics can also contribute to hearing problems in children.
Mrs. Fynn emphasizes that antibiotics are often prescribed without proper consultation, and caregivers may buy them from pharmacies without understanding the potential effects on their children.
Moreover, she mentions that using over-the-counter ear drops to treat ear discomfort, without knowing the cause, can worsen the situation and lead to hearing loss.
Several infections, such as mumps, measles, and meningitis, are possible causes of hearing issues in children, and immediate medical attention is advised if any signs of these infections are observed.
Mrs. Fynn further cautions against prolonged use of headphones and earbuds, especially in young people, as they increase the risk of developing hearing loss.
Exposure to noise in recreational settings and the frequent use of personal audio devices can also contribute to hearing challenges.
Mrs. Fynn’s team is currently witnessing an increase in children with delayed speech and hearing loss.
Early intervention is crucial in such cases, as it improves the likelihood of the child catching up with their peers in language acquisition.
The hospital recently launched a newborn hearing screening project in collaboration with Med El and Path Medical, aimed at reducing the number of hearing loss cases in children.
The screening is now part of the routine for newborn babies delivered at the facility.
In the past, caregivers only sought medical attention when their two or three-year-old children showed signs of delayed speech, but by that time, the condition had often worsened.
Mrs. Fynn emphasizes that around 60% of childhood hearing loss cases are preventable if appropriate precautionary measures are put in place.
The audiologist expresses gratitude to their partners for supporting the project and hopes it will be extended to other regions in the country.