Risk factors for childhood hearing impairment Copperbelt Province-Zambia
Chishimba, Petronella Nyanja
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A study of this nature has not been done before either on the Copperbelt Province or in Zambia, hence the need to carry it out now. The main objective of the study was to identify risk factors for childhood hearing impairment among children in special education units in primary schools on the Copperbelt Province. A case control study was done with 50 cases and 99 controls systematically selected from the school registers. The results of the study are based on interviews with mothers regarding the social economic status, history of diseases diagnosed in childhood that are known to be as.sociated with hearing impairment, factors surrounding the birth of children and family history of deafness. The total number of respondents were 149 with mean ages of 36 years and 35 years for mothers of cases and controls respectively. 84% of these mothers were married, 22% were illiterate and 85% resided in high density areas. The mean income was K122,000.00 per month and the majority reported monthly income below this average. The majority of cases and controls 90% were born normally. Most cases 46% had the impairemcnt within first year of life, 30% had it between 12 - 23 months. 76% of cases as compaired to 29% of controls had history of childhood diseases that are known to be associated with hearing loss.The findings demonstrated that children born of illiterate mothers residing in crowded and densely populated areas were more likely to have hearing impairment. History of meningitis (30%) was the most important factor associated with hearing loss while the odds of having the impairment was increased among children with history of otitis media, measles and family history of deafness.Much more attention needs to be given to the problem of hearing loss among children. Counselling, health education on risk factors for hearing impairment and simultaneous implementation of programmes that improve child health and survival are recommended. The provisions of the persons with disabilities Act need to be seriously applied.
SubjectHearing impaired children-Zambia
- Medicine