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According to the DECS-NHC survey conducted among 15,381,796 children for SY 1997-98, the top three leading ailments include dental caries, pediculosis and common colds. Otitis media which is a common cause of hearing loss among children, ranked eighth with a prevalence rate of 12.23%.

Based on the 10 leading ailments among grade 2 in Mandaluyong City released by NCP-SHA, impacted cerumen ranked fourth among the 10 leading ailments having a prevalence rate of 28.48% while hearing impairment ranked fifth with a prevalence rate of 24.44%.

Audiology Facility and Hearing Aids:

Grossly looking at the enormity of the problem, the Philippines has one of the smallest ear and hearing specialist population in Southeast Asia. With more than 88 million Filipinos, there are only 400 otorhinolaryngology specialists compared to the 400 otorhinolaryngologists serving 25 million individuals in Malaysia.

Moreover, being a very new field of study in the Philippines, the practice of audiology was previously monopolized by private hearing centers, which mainly thrives on the hearing aid business and not as a health service. Currently, there are less than 20 hospital based hearing centers most of which are only manned by trained audiometrists. Of these, 50% are based in Metro Manila with the rest unequally distributed around the archipelago. From the 30 medical universities and colleges in the Philippines, the Philippine Society of Otorhinolaryngology only has 20 accredited Training Institutions producing a mere 25 Otorhinolaryngology Specialist on an annual basis. On the other hand, there are only two Universities offering a graduate program in Audiology producing an average of 15 Audiologist every two years.

Currently, Better Hearing Philippines, Inc. through Christoffel Blinden Mission maintains a diagnostic referral center serving many parts of Southern and Central Luzon. The Center for Audiological Sciences houses a state-of-the-art diagnostic audiology facility for both pediatric and adult patients and manned by Audiologists. Apart from Better Hearing Philippines’ base center, two satellite centers strategically located in Bacolod City and Davao City are operational, serving Visayas and Mindanao respectively.

With a relatively large number of estimated hearing disabled in the Philippines and the limited manpower and physical resources, it is imperative that a national program be established to facilitate the prevention, management and rehabilitation of hearing impairment in the Philippines.

 
 


Description:

In compliance with the World Health Organization recommendations, Better Hearing Philippines is constantly conducting surveillance on all the programs being conducted under the EARS Program.

Objectives:

Corollary to the Vision, Mission, and Goal of the National Ear and Hearing Health Care Plan, the Research and Information Systems Program seeks: - To monitor and evaluate activities being implemented under the National Ear and Hearing Health Care Program; - To enable improvement on the different programs being conducted under the National Ear and Hearing Health Care Program; - To provide relevant programs adapted to the needs of individual communities.

Philippine Statistics:

In the most recent nationwide survey on hearing disability and ear disorders conducted by Better Hearing Philippines, Inc., (2005 Martinez et.al.) the prevalence of hearing disability was established at 8.8% of the general population with wax problem, otitis media and non-infectious conditions as the leading cause. Further, hearing impairment, including mild forms of hearing loss was at 28%.Prior to the national survey cited earlier, the Department of Health and the University of the Philippines conducted, in 2003, a general survey on disability which sought to identify the problems in relation to disability in the country. The study categorized disabilities into moving, speaking, hearing, mental and seeing. Percent distributions of the types of disability are as follows: movement disability (39%), speaking (10%), hearing (33%), mental (10%) and vision (8%). Prevalence of different types of disability by age groups showed that disability was most prevalent among the following age groups: 70 and above (16.18%), 60-69 (3.66%) and 50-59 (1.45%). As part of the disability being assessed by the study, it was found that the prevalence of hearing impairment nationwide using the screening and functional assessment tools developed by the study was 2.04% while for hearing disability, results showed a 1.10% prevalence rate. Furthermore, hearing disability was found to be the 2nd highest form of disability next to moving disability.

According to the DOH National Registry in 1997, hearing impairment was said to be 17% or 97,957 per 577,345 population. A similar survey in 1995 by the Philippine Consensus of Population showed that prevalence rate of hearing diseases were estimated to be 12.55% or 115,357 per 919,292 individuals. At that time, based on the criteria set by the Employees’ Compensation Commission of the Department of Labor and Employment, cases of hearing loss were categorized into partially deaf (7.57%), totally deaf (2.50%), poor hearing ability (2.48%).

Another recent survey regarding hearing loss at the workplace entitled “Risk Factors in Traditionally Noisy Workplaces Associated with NIHL” conducted from 2000-2002, showed that the prevalence of hearing loss among Filipino workers for both ears was 42.4%, 12% on the right ear only, 12.1% on the left ear only and 65.5% of these were primarily due to noise-induced hearing loss. Further analysis of the data collected using logistic regression showed that risk factors included age (30 years old and above), perception of noise at the workplace (noisy-very noisy), exposure to noise, annual examination in company and need for workers to speak loudly. Protective factors include educational attainment (HS/E and C/PG), ability to localize sounds, presence of noise reduction methods, medical history of hearing loss.

 

   
 
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