The Apapa-Iganmu Local Council Development Area (LCDA) has organised a two-day free ear screening exercise tagged “Hearing Challenge” for hundreds of school children resident in the area and its environs.
The Sole Administrator of the Council, Mr. Olumide Olayomi, said the essence of “Hearing Challenge” is rooted in his desire to ensure that the promising future of the school children is not in any way hampered by health related challenges.
Olayomi added that the same passion informed his decision to embark on a recent three-day free screening exercise on cardiovascular and other health related diseases for residents of the area, in partnership with cardiology specialists from the United States of America earlier this year.
He expressed belief that the prospects of children as leaders of tomorrow could be cut short if they encounter any health deficiency especially ear impairment which, according to him often limits the chances and performance of pupils in schools.
According to him, “I observed that a large number of residents within this council are students within ages 1 – 14 who should be given adequate attention at their formative years because early detection of any ear-related disorder could be easily corrected and such children would be given hope of a better life and an avenue to contribute their quota to the development of the society.”
Olayomi said that the council plans to document the ENT specialist’s advice and precautions in leaflets and handbills for further sensitization across the LCDA and among healthcare givers to further relay the message of keeping the ear healthy and functional.
The ENT surgeon and Doctor in charge of the screening exercise, Dr. Anthony Owa warned against the use of cotton bud and other sharp materials in cleaning the ear, saying that the ear had been naturally designed by God to clean itself and if for any reason anyone feels compelled to clean the ear, he or she should use dissolvable oil, like olive oil, to decongest the wax in the ear and probably a wet towel to clean the outer parts of the ear.
Dr. Owa said that the manufacturers of cotton buds are also aware of the said dangers and thus have the inscription “do not use to clean the ear” written at the bottom of the cotton-bud pack but most users are oblivious of this.”
He added that deafness or partial loss of earing could also come from a long time exposure to sound for a continuous period of time, advising individuals who have cultivated the habit of listening to music from ear phones perpetually to desist from such or risk losing their earing in the nearest future.
“There is a standard sound range as prescribed by World Health Organisation, WHO, which an individual can be exposed to within a certain period of time but by the nature of the job of some individuals like those working in bottling companies, printing corporations or factories where high sound producing machines are used, we usually advise that appropriate ear protection be used always and the period of exposure to such environment reduced as much as possible.”
Speaking on his experience on the children he had examined so far, Doctor Owa remarked that there had not been serious cases of deafness noticed in any of the children except for some traceable effect of materials used in cleaning the children’s ear which if not stopped could cause greater damage to their earing capabilities.
“I brought some numbers of hearing aids to be administered to these children free of charge in case there is need for such but none of their cases had warranted such so I have warned them and their parents to discontinue some certain habits and inculcate ear friendly attitudes at the same time” the ENT expert added.
According to him, deafness could be generic, or as a result of some health issues like sickle cell, malaria, syphilis, medication during pregnancy, per-mature birth among several other factors.
Dr. Owa performed the first hearing restoration surgery at Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH) last year.