Increase in hearing loss in past five years

National 1 minute, 32 seconds

BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN

MORE Bruneians are using hearing aids in the last five years due to age-related and noise-induced hearing loss, data from Raja Isteri Pengiran Anak Saleha (RIPAS) Hospital’s Audiology Department showed.

Head of the RIPAS Hospital’s Audiology Unit Dr Hjh Effah Pehin Dato Hj Suhaili said the number of Bruneian patients wearing hearing aids has increased “steadily”, with most of the patients aged 60 and above.

Reports from the unit showed that more than 800 patients had to use hearing aids from 2011 to 2015 because of hearing loss.

A total of 206 patients were ordered to wear hearing aids last year, while 217 patients had to wear hearing aids in 2014. In 2013, 142 patients were diagnosed with hearing loss.

Deputy Head of RIPAS Hospital’s Audiology Unit Dr Arni Kartini Hj Awg Bakar said leaving ears untreated is still a common problem as people tend to brush it off.

Dr Arni said there is still a need for more community awareness on ears and hearing health in the Sultanate, noting that hearing is one of the most important but one of the most uncared human senses.

“Often it (hearing problem) is left untreated, causing an unnecessarily severe loss in quality of life,” said the audiologist.

Noise-induced hearing loss also remains the leading occupational disease in Brunei, according to previous reports from Jerudong Park Medical Centre (JPMC).

Dr Arni said hearing loss is commonly caused by exposure to noise or ageing.

She said working in noisy surroundings for many years without using special protective equipment increases the risk of developing tinnitus as well as hearing loss.

Tinnitus is the term for hearing sounds that come from inside your body, rather than from an outside source.

Leisure activities such as the extensive use of music players to chain saws and musical instruments may also trigger tinnitus, said the audiologist.

The Brunei Times