As part of efforts to reduce hearing loss among school children, particularly those with significant hearing loss, the Lagos State Government in collaboration with a non-governmental organization, Hearmax Initiative, provided hearing aids, an electronic device designed to improve hearing, to nine elementary school students.
The students, who are among more than 1,000 school children screened by the Lagos State Department of Health during a pilot hearing loss study commissioned at the request of Lagos State Governor Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu in some primary schools in Lagos, were presented with hearing aids after confirmatory tests for varying degrees of hearing loss.
Speaking at the presentation ceremony, the Commissioner for Health, Professor Akin Abayomi, noted that the pilot hearing loss study, screening and eventual presentation of hearing aids to some students is in recognition of the consequences of hearing loss in school children, in particular the negative impact it has on the academic performance of school children.
In his words: “Hearing loss in children most often goes undetected and eventually leads to permanent or lifelong negative impacts on their academic performance. It is in recognition of the consequences of hearing impairment that the Lagos State Government, through the Ministry of Health, is collaborating with the Hearmax initiative to provide hearing aids to nine primary school students.”
“what we are doing in Lagos, under the instructions of the Governor, is to set up a pilot study to identify certain primary schools in each local government and screen them to see if we can pick up hearing impaired pupils”, he added.
The commissioner explained that the pilot study involved screening 1,131 students, adding that the screening provides an assessment of the sensitivity of their sense of hearing.
“Of the 1,131 students who were screened, 676 students had earwax with foreign impaction while 14 students passed confirmatory testing for varying degrees of hearing loss, and nine of them were fit for hearing aids. So here we introduce the hearing aids to the relevant students after relevant testing and suitability confirmation,” Abayomi said.
While noting that good eyesight and good hearing are essential for the child to achieve their full academic potential.
Abayomi said it was important that hearing and visual impairments were diagnosed and corrected early to prevent the negative impact it could have on children’s lives.
Speaking in the same spirit, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Health, Dr Olusegun Ogboye noted that the Lagos State Government is on track to reduce the incidence and negative impact of the loss among citizens by promoting advocacy on access to hearing and hearing care.
Ogboye, who presented the hearing aids to affected students alongside the commissioner, praised the recipients and their parents, advising them to take good care of the device.
Dr. Ibraheem Salako, Executive Director of Hearmax Initiative, said his organization was pleased to collaborate with the Lagos State Government to provide assistance to the nine students, adding that the collaboration aligns with the vision of organization to “improve lives, one ear at a time”.