Overview of a public health approach to pediatric hearing impairment in the Pacific Islands

A. Kaspar, J. Kei, C. Driscoll, De Wet Swanepoel, Helen Goulios

    Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

    10 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    © 2016 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. Background: Childhood hearing impairment is a significant cause of disability in developing countries. Otitis media and meningitis are leading infectious causes of preventable hearing loss in children. It is estimated that the Pacific Islands have among the greatest global burden of childhood hearing impairment due to infectious causes, and yet there is currently very little in the research literature on pediatric hearing disorders in this region. Objectives: (1) To review existing research literature on pediatric hearing impairment in the Pacific Islands, and (2) to present a public health approach to the development and improvement of childhood hearing services in the Pacific Islands. Data: The primary tool was a comprehensive literature review. MEDLINE and ScienceDirect databases were searched for relevant journal articles. There was no limit on the date of publication. Any article reporting on hearing impairment in the Pacific Region was included. Results: A total of 23 journal articles were found that satisfied the above inclusion criteria. The limited information available in the literature suggests that otitis media and vaccine-preventable infections are a significant cause of avoidable childhood hearing impairment in the Pacific Islands. Pediatric audiology services are limited in this region. Further research is required to develop effective public health programs that should reduce the burden of preventable childhood hearing loss in the Pacific Islands. Conclusions: There is limited information in the research literature on pediatric hearing impairment and audiology services in the Pacific Islands. Epidemiological data based on the WHO Ear and Hearing Disorders Survey Protocol are urgently needed, and the development of audiology services within the existing public and primary health care framework should reduce the burden of preventable hearing loss in the Pacific Islands.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)43-52
    Number of pages10
    JournalInternational Journal of Pediatric Otorhinolaryngology
    Volume86
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2016

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