Saturday, November 23, 2013

Hearing Loss Among Kids: Sounding Off on Acute Otitis Media

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As a mom, nothing is more fulfilling than to see my child always in good health condition. The best I can, just like any other mom or parent, to do my best and keep him safe always.

Every parent wants their child to excel in school. However, there are some children who have difficulty in learning, and this may be due to several underlying factors. For instance, a child may be labeled as inattentive or a slow learner, but can actually be suffering from hearing problems caused by inflammation of the middle ear from Acute Otitis Media (AOM).

This condition is commonly referred to as “luga” in the Philippines, and is often simply thought to be an effect of improper ear cleaning. The real cause for the condition is the build up of pus in the ear from allergies or an upper respiratory infection. AOM can lead to hearing loss and to a more devastating consequences like speech difficulties and learning disabilities.

Many Filipino children may be suffering from undiagnosed hearing loss, as Otitis Media is ranked as the 8th leading childhood ailment in the country. It has been found that 3 out of 4 children will have had at least one episode of AOM before they reach their third birthday.

Given this, on November 8, 1991, the late president Corazon Aquino signed Proclamation No. 829 declaring the second week of November of every year as Deaf Awareness Week (DAW), recognizing the need to focus on public awareness on hearing impairment, its prevention and rehabilitation. The celebration of Deaf Awareness Week centers on the vision of transforming the hearing impaired community as an immutable force in the society.

This year, Better Hearing Philippines, St. Luke’s Medical Center, QC, UST McAudio Department in partnership with GlaxoSmithKline held a Medical Mission in Brgy. Dona Imelda, Quezon City last November 20, 2013 which was filled with activities participated by both hearing and hearing disabled individuals, parents, educators and service providers, all collaborating to empower the deaf community and raise awareness on hearing impairment.

Part of the advocacy in promoting preventive and treatment measures means addressing the problem of ear and hearing. At the event, Dr. Gretchen Navarro-Locsin, a Pediatric Otorhinalaryngologist said, “Protecting children through breastfeeding, adequate nutrition, frequent hand washing, avoidance of tobacco smoke and vaccination can go a long way towards ensuring that your child hears the world through clean ears.

Likewise a media event was recently held to help create more awareness regarding this health condition. The event was highlighted by a ceremonial balloon releasing with each and everyone's pledge, just like what I did.

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