Thursday, April 25, 2024

VIDEO: Call for more access to ear and hearing care

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Founder and chairman of the Deaf Heart Project (DHP), Che Greenidge, is calling for greater access to primary ear and hearing care across the island for those who need it.

Greenidge made this point recently during the inaugural World Hearing Day event held in Barbados at the Sir Hugh Springer Auditorium, Solidarity House, under the World Health Organisation (WHO) theme “Ear & Hearing Care for all”.

The Deaf Heart Project was the selected champion by the World Health Organisation (WHO) in conjunction with World Hearing Forum and the Coalition for Global Hearing Health for this global health initiative.

According to the WHO, over 1.5 billion people globally live with hearing loss and that number is estimated to rise to over 2.5 billion by 2050.

Despite that statistic, the chairman of the DHP noted that it was stark how little was known about this day in Barbados, even amongst members of the deaf community. In her eyes “it was testament to the fact of how much we neglect our ears and our hearing, whatever our varying degree of hearing ability is or how much hearing loss we may be experiencing”.

She was quick to thank those in attendance – members of the deaf community, volunteers of the Barbados Community College and representatives of Rotary Club of Barbados as well as audiologist at the Barbados Speech and Hearing Centre, Dr Mariella Stabler for their efforts. Greenidge believes these partnerships were necessary in order to promote healthy ears and ear care because once there are more people involved and more people conscious of it, it would be easier to make ventures such as World Hearing Day a continuous event in Barbados.

Greenidge concluded by saying that now was the time for those in power to take the necessary steps in order to improve ear care.

“I want to take this opportunity to appeal to Government and healthcare providers and professionals to work with us (The Deaf Heart Project),” she said. “Today we are also going to be marking the launch of the training manual World Health Organisation Primary Ear and Hearing Care. Knowing that we have this manual, the Deaf Heart Project will be disseminating this information to healthcare providers and medical practitioners to make sure that we all have access to the same information and achieve the global health goal of primary ear and hearing care together.”

Stabler described the World Health Organisation Primary Ear and Hearing Care training manual as a wonderful resource for the prevention, identification and management of hearing loss.

“The manual is targeted towards healthcare workers and primary care workers and seeks to ensure that hearing health is not overlooked and is included in the general health checkups across Barbados whether hearing or deaf.”

There are ten modules in the manual which is designed in a way that appeals to those with only entry level knowledge of the subject area, with the hopes of increasing the knowledge of the healthcare practitioners. By the end of the manual, practitioners should be able to identify if there is a problem with the subject’s ears and what category the problem falls into. There are problems such as an ear infection or wax impaction (too much ear wax in the ears) or a less physical issue such as hearing loss and where and when to refer to the subject. (Jonteau Coppin)

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