Priorities for early hearing detection and intervention in sub-Saharan Africa

Bolajoko O Olusanya
International Journal of Audiology 2008, 47 Suppl 1: S3-13
Sub-Saharan Africa not only has the highest rates of neonatal, infant, and child mortality worldwide but also accounts for a significant proportion of the global burden of permanent congenital and early-onset hearing loss (PCEHL). This article explores the diverse psychosocial, educational, and economic consequences of PCEHL in the region and highlights the interrelationships between this condition and the crucial domains of early childhood development. It also examines relevant levels of prevention and current practices within the context of the birthing patterns and routine immunization schedules in the first three months of life. It presents practical options for addressing the needs of children with PCEHL and their parents against the backdrop of the prevailing health and socioeconomic conditions. It concludes by underscoring the crucial dimensions of culturally-sensitive interventions as well as the need for ear-care professionals in each country to take advantage of the growing global initiatives for hearing impairment prevention within a multidisciplinary framework to advance the best interests of the affected children and their families.

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