Latin America’s hearing has fallen by the wayside

Latin America has proven itself to be concerned over the health of its population, focusing efforts on initiatives to combat disease like dengue, chikungunya and malaria. While some health efforts have made impressive improvements in public wellness, other areas have fallen by the wayside. One seemingly neglected area is that of hearing health. SEE ALSO: Could spending a week in the dark improve your hearing? According to an investigative report from Kamran Zamanian, CEO, and Giulliano Pappi, market research analyst, iData Research, Latin America accounts for approximately 9 percent of the global population with hearing impairment, and rates of hearing loss in Latin American countries are between 4 and 6 percent, compared to nations like the United States where rates are between 2 and 4 percent. “To address this issue, some countries like Brazil have a public health care program that provides free-of-charge hearing health care services, including diagnosis, treatment, hearing aid distribution, and rehabilitation,” wrote the analysts in a report. “However, poor socioeconomic conditions and geographical differences slow down the overall development of hearing healthcare across the region. Current short-term awareness campaigns and the limited number of initiatives by associations and government organizations are insufficient to improve adoption rates.” The average person in Latin America waits 10 years to seek any kind of remedy for their hearing impairment from the time of initial diagnosis, and many never accept treatment for fear of the cosmetic changes that may occur. Hearing aids, for example, which are considered aesthetically unpleasing, are used by only 5 percent of the hearing impaired Latin American population, compared to a rate of 22 percent in the United States and 45 percent in Denmark. “Many patients avoid hearing aids in order to conform to perceived social pressures,” wrote the authors. “Despite the many new hearing aid styles and discreet designs, some still regard hearing aids as a symbol of advanced old age and incapacity. These attitudes and concerns will continue to limit overall hearing aid market growth.” A lack of awareness concerning hearing loss is still one of the primary reasons the issue is under treated in Latin America. There are many different types of hearing impairment, and many different levels within each category. According to the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, individuals may experience conductive hearing loss, where sounds are not passing through the outer and middle ear to the inner ear effectively; sensorineural hearing loss, where damage has permanently limited hearing; or mixed hearing loss, where the inner, middle and outer ear may be effected in combination. SEE ALSO: Link between sleep apnea and hearing loss found in Hispanics Hearing loss may be so gradual or mild that an individual is unaware they have any issue. Though hearing loss may not seem as serious of a public health concern as dengue or malaria, experts indicate that many forms of hearing loss are curable when caught in time. This is why effective awareness campaigns in Latin America are important. Some issues related to hearing loss, such as chronic infections, can also cause other health problems–like balance or coordination difficulty–if left untreated.The post Latin America’s hearing has fallen by the wayside appeared first on Voxxi.

Latin America has a high percentage of people with hearing impairment compared to other countries. (Shutterstock)

Latin America has proven itself to be concerned over the health of its population, focusing efforts on initiatives to combat disease like dengue, chikungunya and malaria. While some health efforts have made impressive improvements in public wellness, other areas have fallen by the wayside. One seemingly neglected area is that of hearing health.

SEE ALSO: Could spending a week in the dark improve your hearing?

According to an investigative report from Kamran Zamanian, CEO, and Giulliano Pappi, market research analyst, iData Research, Latin America accounts for approximately 9 percent of the global population with hearing impairment, and rates of hearing loss in Latin American countries are between 4 and 6 percent, compared to nations like the United States where rates are between 2 and 4 percent.

“To address this issue, some countries like Brazil have a public health care program that provides free-of-charge hearing health care services, including diagnosis, treatment, hearing aid distribution, and rehabilitation,” wrote the analysts in a report.

“However, poor socioeconomic conditions and geographical differences slow down the overall development of hearing healthcare across the region. Current short-term awareness campaigns and the limited number of initiatives by associations and government organizations are insufficient to improve adoption rates.”

The average person in Latin America waits 10 years to seek any kind of remedy for their hearing impairment from the time of initial diagnosis, and many never accept treatment for fear of the cosmetic changes that may occur.

Hearing aids, for example, which are considered aesthetically unpleasing, are used by only 5 percent of the hearing impaired Latin American population, compared to a rate of 22 percent in the United States and 45 percent in Denmark.

“Many patients avoid hearing aids in order to conform to perceived social pressures,” wrote the authors. “Despite the many new hearing aid styles and discreet designs, some still regard hearing aids as a symbol of advanced old age and incapacity. These attitudes and concerns will continue to limit overall hearing aid market growth.”

Hearing health is important, but some in Latin America ignore hearing loss.
More hearing health initiatives are needed to raise awareness in Latin America. (Shutterstock)

A lack of awareness concerning hearing loss is still one of the primary reasons the issue is under treated in Latin America. There are many different types of hearing impairment, and many different levels within each category.

According to the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, individuals may experience conductive hearing loss, where sounds are not passing through the outer and middle ear to the inner ear effectively; sensorineural hearing loss, where damage has permanently limited hearing; or mixed hearing loss, where the inner, middle and outer ear may be effected in combination.

SEE ALSO: Link between sleep apnea and hearing loss found in Hispanics

Hearing loss may be so gradual or mild that an individual is unaware they have any issue.

Though hearing loss may not seem as serious of a public health concern as dengue or malaria, experts indicate that many forms of hearing loss are curable when caught in time.

This is why effective awareness campaigns in Latin America are important. Some issues related to hearing loss, such as chronic infections, can also cause other health problems–like balance or coordination difficulty–if left untreated.

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The post Latin America’s hearing has fallen by the wayside appeared first on Voxxi.