Central Data Catalog

Citation Information

Type Journal Article - Journal of Primary Health Care
Title Estimated prevalence of hearing loss and provision of hearing services in Pacific Island nations
Volume 7
Issue 1
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2015
Page numbers 5-15
URL https://www.rnzcgp.org.nz/assets/documents/Publications/JPHC/March-2015/New-JPHCOSPSandersMarch2015.​pdf
INTRODUCTION: Hearing impairment (HI) affects an estimated 538 million people worldwide, with 80% of these living in developing countries. Untreated HI in childhood may lead to developmental delay and in adults results in social isolation, inability to find or maintain employment, and dependency. Early intervention and support programmes can significantly reduce the negative effects of HI. AIM: To estimate HI prevalence and identify available hearing services in some Pacific countries—Cook Islands, Fiji, Niue, Samoa, Tokelau, Tonga. METHODS: Data were collected through literature review and correspondence with service providers. Prevalence estimates were based on census data and previously published regional estimates. RESULTS: Estimates indicate 20–23% of the population may have at least a mild HI, with up to 11% having a moderate impairment or worse. Estimated incidence of chronic otitis media in Pacific Island nations is 3–5 times greater than other Australasian countries in children under 10 years old. Permanent HI from otitis media is substantially more likely in children and adults in Pacific Island nations. Several organisations and individuals provide some limited hearing services in a few Pacific Island nations, but the majority of people with HI are largely underserved. DISCUSSION: Although accurate information on HI prevalence is lacking, prevalence estimates of HI and ear disease suggest they are significant health conditions in Pacific Island nations. There is relatively little support for people with HI or ear disease in the Pacific region. An investment in initiatives to both identify and support people with hearing loss in the Pacific is necessary.

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