‘Saving Guyana from deafness’ campaign yielding results – Dr Quaicoe
It has been 20 years since the Audiology Department of the Georgetown Public Hospital (GPHC) established a campaign to save Guyana from deafness and international social relations, the journey which has continued, is now yielding results.Audiological Physician at the GPHC, Dr Ruth Quaicoe, explained that deafness begins for most Guyanese due to the constant exposure to loud decibels of sounds from stereos or industrial noises.She explained that children who are born with hearing impairment, which is a serious condition, must be identified from the inception because if not, their speech cannot be developed.Dr Quaicoe making checks on a newborn at the GPHCIn Guyana, there are rehabilitative services available which can assist those who are born with congenital hearing loss. According to Quaicoe, if a child who is suffering from a hearing impediment does not receive a hearing aid by the age of five, it is likely that they won’t develop speech for the rest of their life.Within the first 24 hours of birth, every child who is born at the GPHC undergoes Automated Optoacoustic Emission (AOE) screening. A final diagnosis is determined when the test is repeated three months later.The specialist urged all Guyanese to make it their first priority to care for their hearing by wearing protective gear, avoid listening to loud music and resisting the tendencies to consume alcohol.“If you work at an environment where there is loud music or machines are loud, after the first few days your ear will try to repair itself so the hearing comes back so we have a temporary threshold shift whereby you lose your hearing and then it comes back. But after about 10 years the hearing doesn’t come back, the threshold will be lost and all you can rely on is your residual hearing,” Quaicoe explained.Hearing loss can also be attributed due to a person’s lifestyle, which includes non-communicable diseases (NCDs), working in a noisy industrial site and listening to loud music. It affects not only the physical aspect of a person, but also their social life. Dr Quaicoe is urging all Guyanese to wear protective gear, avoid listening to loud music and resist the tendencies to consume alcohol.Over the years, she noted that hearing aids have helped the older generations in restoring their hearing. Starkey Hearing Foundation has donated approximately 700 hearing aids to Guyana within the past two years and will be donating another 400 this week.