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June 27, 2005

152 hearing loss cases reported

From: Gulf Times, Qatar - Jun 27, 2005

Staff Reporter

ABOUT 152 cases of hearing loss have been detected among newborns ever since the Audiology Unit of Hamad Medical Corporation's ENT Department launched the National Screening Programme for Early Detection of Hearing Loss in April 2003.

"Of this, eight babies have been prepared for cochlear implants, whereas a number of others required other hearing aid devices, and some others needed surgical procedures to reshape ear canals," unit head and programme chief executive Dr Khalid Abdul Hadi has said. He was speaking at a function got together by the unit to honour the medical team, technicians and nurses involved in the programme.

A cochlear implant is a technical medical device that electrically stimulates the hearing nerve in the cochlea (inner ear). It's designed to allow individuals with severe to profound hearing loss to perceive sound. As many as 3,000 cases of minor hearing deficiency, due to hearing canal blockage or problems of otitis media, have been diagnosed and treated under the programme.

Dr Hadi explained that the initiative aims at the early detection of hearing loss for children to prevent impairment in future.

The programme is being administered in three stages, with the first immediately after birth and prior to discharge from Women's and Al Khor hospitals.

The second stage is at the age of two to three months at the time of vaccination, and the third is during the screening administered at the pre-school age. The second stage is currently administered at eight Primary Health Care Centres and at the daily evening clinic at the Women's Hospital.

A diagnostic clinic for hearing loss detection for newborns operates four days a week at Hamad General Hospital (HGH).

The Audiology Unit, established at Rumaillah Hospital last year, administers hearing test for children aged two to five years by means of toy-testing methodology. Infants aged one to ten months are tested by the non-invasive Brain Stem Imaging. Older children and adults are tested by conventional methods.

The unit selects patients with hearing loss and treats them with cochlear implants that stimulate the auditory nerve. These implants are usually programmed following implanting them in the patients ear.

The Audiology Unit also contributes to the training of medical staff through the ongoing medical training programme.

The activities of the ENT Department have expanded to include three clinics at HGH, such as Dizziness Treatment Clinic, Cochlear Implant Clinic and Pediatric Hearing Loss Detection Clinic.

Dr Hadi and ENT Department head and consultant Dr Amer ElHakeem honoured HMC's physicians and officials who extended support to the programme and the Audiology Unit. They were medical director Dr Saad al-Kaabi, assistant managing director for operations Dr Hanan al-Kuwari, Primary Health Care Department head Dr Saleh al-Marri, Surgery Department head Dr Saleh al-Yazeedi, Neonatal Intensive Care Unit head Dr Hilal al-Rifaee, Women's Hospital's acting assistant administrative director Mohammad al-Niema, and Nursing Department deputy director Maythaa al-Boainain.

©Gulf Times Newspaper, 2005