Hearing loss statistics
Prevalence of hearing loss
In many African nations the general awareness of hearing impairment is low and lack of resources has caused a lack of screening programmes. The continent has a predominantly young population and many are at risk of getting diseases causing hearing loss.
Overall, it is estimated that in the countries below Sahara, more than 1.2 million children aged between 5 and 14 years suffer from moderate to severe hearing loss in both ears. General prevalence studies show higher rates of severe to profound hearing loss in this part of Africa than in other developing countries.
In Nigeria about 14 percent of the schoolchildren have some kind of hearing loss.
point In Kenya, Gambia and Tanzania about 2.5 to 3.5 children in 1000 suffer from severe to profound hearing loss.
In South Africa about 7.5 percent of the school children suffer from varying degrees of hearing loss
In Swaziland 4.1 percent of the children aged between 5 and 15 years suffer from hearing loss.
In Sierra Leone, the prevalence is found to be 9 percent in the 5-15 year age group.
Precise picture elusive
It is difficult to get a precise picture of the prevalence and causes of hearing loss in Africa. Investigations into hearing loss in various countries do not always provide fair comparisons because of differences in standards and methods used. Results may vary based on numbers of people in each study, the study methodology and variations in accepted definitions of hearing loss. The articles in these pages provide an overall view of the prevalence of hearing loss in various countries.
Sources: "Childhood hearing loss in sub-Saharan Africa: a review and recommendations", International Journal of Pediatric Otorhinolaryngology, 1997, vol. 40. And "Hearing Loss Prevalence and Risk Factors Among Sierra Leonean Children", Archives of Otolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery, vol. 121 August 1995.