Hearing loss is actually quite common in Malaysia. Statistics show that 17.14% of the 30 million population of Malaysia suffers from a hearing problem. One to three out of 1000 babies suffers from congenital or neonatal hearing loss, while amongst the ageing population, one out of three people shows signs of significant hearing loss by the age of 65. It is also a fact that 30% of the 3.8 million senior citizens have some degree of hearing loss.
This was revealed by Deputy Minister of Health Dr Lee Boon Chye, during the launch of the ‘Malaysia( MY) Hearing Day’ Campaign at AEON Midtown Falim, Ipoh on March 3.
He added that according to World Health Organisation statistics, 466 million people worldwide (6.1% of the world’s population) have hearing problems and 34 million are children.
According to Dr Lee, one of the main impacts of hearing loss is on the individual’s ability to communicate with others. For the elderly with hearing loss, they have a higher risk of cognitive declines and are more likely to develop dementia. Hearing will also affect our social and emotional wellbeing. Without normal hearing, we have Less communication, causing feelings of loneliness, being isolated and increasing rates of depression. Adults with hearing loss have a much higher unemployment rate.
For babies and children, early detection of hearing loss is very important. In Malaysia, children with hearing loss and deafness rarely receive any schooling. Development of cognitive, social and communication skills will be affected too. Thus, he hopes all the hospitals in Malaysia can provide ‘Universal Newborn Hearing Screening’ in their service so we can manage the hearing disabilities as early as possible.
“Today with this event that is called ‘Malaysia (MY) Hearing Day’, it is my sincere hope that with this kind of great initiative, we can bring people to understand more about hearing loss. This includes how to deal with it and how to prevent it in the first place. Because raising awareness and improving access to services at the primary level can help to reduce the prevalence and adverse impact of hearing loss,” Dr Lee concluded.
The organising chairperson of MY Hearing Day cum Senior Audiologist of KPJ Ipoh Specialist Hospital, Sylvia Lee Wai Hun, then announced that KPJ Ipoh will be running a special promotion with a discount on hearing tests and hearing devices. Besides, KPJ is offering three years of 0% interest instalments with a credit card on every purchase of hearing aid from KPJ Ipoh. “With affordable, advanced technology and audiological professional services, I wish for all our patients to communicate with their loved ones with ease and enjoy the sounds of the world around them,” she said.
On top of that, the main sponsor, managing director of Swiss Medicare Sdn Bhd, Mr Vincent Cheong announced that his company will also be donating 20 units of Phonak hearing aids, with a total retail value of RM133,200, for supporting this campaign.