- Survey finds 62% of the total respondent pool believe that getting older is the principal cause of hearing loss
- Almost two third of parents do not believe that their children's treated hearing loss will affect their long-term development
Dubai, UAE, January 16, 2017: Supported by the Ministry of Health and Prevention in the UAE, and in cooperation with The Emirates Medical Association, ORL, Head & Neck Society, MED-EL Medical Electronics - the leading provider of hearing implants in the Middle East, announced in a media roundtable today the results of the 'Hear I am' Study. The survey was formulated to understand behavioral trends towards hearing loss in the UAE, and to raise awareness on the positive social impacts of overcoming hearing loss.
The 'Hear I am' survey, which was conducted by the Pan Arab Research Center, gathered results from 451 members of the general public, individuals with hearing loss and parents of children with hearing loss.
Conforming to the findings of the survey, the majority 62% of the total respondent pool believe that getting older is the principal cause of hearing loss. However, and regardless of the reason, previous studies show that typically, people wait an average of 10 years between first noticing signs of hearing loss and getting tested, and almost half of those surveyed indicated that this is mainly due to affected people not noticing as they believe it’s a gradual process.
Inaugurating the conference, Dr. Hussain Abdul Rahman Al Rand - MSc (Cairo), German Board (Facharzt), FRCS Assistant Under Secretary, Health Centers And Clinics, Ministry of Health and Prevention, UAE, said: 'I am an advocate for awareness, and for many years, we have been consistently highlighting the issue of hearing loss and the significance of early diagnosis and treatment, as a means for improving the quality of people's lives. And through the active partnership between the public and private sectors in the UAE, I believe we succeeded in better headlining this issue to the general public. What matters now is that we also stimulate action which will ensure a better hearing population and thus consequently leading to the sustainable well-being and growth of our country and the region.'
Concerning the social impact of untreated hearing loss, approximately two-third of people surveyed believe that individuals with untreated hearing loss will be unable to build impactful social relations as other persons.
What's more, when asked to foresee what their key frustration would be should they lose their hearing; 26% of the general public highlighted conversation difficulties, and 20% said they would fear social isolation.
Dismally, only 15% of those surveyed highlighted personal safety as their key concern, and another 15% mentioned fear of being ridiculed as something they would worry about. Furthermore, 12% said they would feel inadequate in day to day life, and only 11 % stated that they would not have any concerns.
Those fears are not entirely called for should there be a larger endorsement of hearing loss solutions. Pertaining to the key advantages of using hearing implants/hearing aids, 71% of patients said it has drastically improved their hearing, and 14% mentioned it improved their ability to socialize with friends and family, and another 14% said that it had increased their enjoyment of music.
Speaking at the roundtable, David F. Raetz, CEO and Regional Director, MED-EL Medical Electronics Middle East said: 'Untreated hearing loss is a permanent inability of adequately communicating with the world and its surroundings. But through our purposeful work with our partners in the UAE and the extended region, we collectively granted hope to many individuals, helping them overcome this inability.'
He added: 'This year we included patients and their parents in the survey, because the story of how well we can overcome hearing loss would not be complete without them, their opinions, perspectives, emotions and the truth that they so eloquently convey when the unaffected can only speculate. And we should all be heartened by the positivity they set out.'
Bringing forward the active betterment of hearing implants, Mr. Kaheld Saloota, father of Anas – patient of hearLIFE Clinic Dubai said: 'We were stricken by an emotional turbulence when we were first told that Anas had hearing loss. But this dissolved when his doctor explained that we could get a hearing implant, which would make him hear again following the procedure, and recommended rehabilitation. Owing to that neccessary decision; Anas leads a normal childhood, he is a very talented painter, who has formed and enjoys many beautiful friendships, just like he was intended.'
Similarly, regarding the use of hearing implants/hearing aids; 78% of Parents who participated in the survey were confident of their children's abilities to participate in everyday activities when compared to other children. Furthermore, 64% of parents do not believe that their children's treated hearing loss will have a negative impact on their long-term development.
Additionally, more than half the parents surveyed had a neutral approach to their children's hearing loss with 58% saying they think that in the future, their children will do as well as everyone else.
In the Middle East and North Africa, it has been estimated by the World Health Organization that approximately 3% of people have disabling hearing loss. While in the UAE, according to MED-EL's 2016 survey 'Responsiveness to hearing loss'; it was estimated that 4% of the UAE's community is affected by hearing loss.