Revista en línea de otorrinolaringología


Self-Reported Causes of Hearing Loss among Patients Presenting at an Audio-otology Camp in Rwanda

Mukara BK, Ntihabose KC, Dazert S and Lohler J

Introduction: Hearing impairment may be conductive, sensorineural or mixed and may be due to variable causes. Some of these causes are preventable or avoidable through simple and cost effective interventions such as immunization of childhood diseases, prevention of chronicity, early identification and timely treatment. Here we present results of a study that was conducted at an audiootology camp to investigate what patients perceived as the cause of their hearing loss.

Methods: Cross sectional data was collected among subjects with perceived hearing loss who presented to a free medical camp for treatment for ear diseases and/or to receive free hearing aids. All patients gave written consent to participate in this study.

Results: The study included 129 patients aged 6 to 80 years. The mean age was 30.55 years. Males accounted for 57.4% of respondents. Forty five percent reported that they developed hearing impairment while aged 5 to 15 years. Infections were the most common cause of hearing loss according to 64% of patients while 13% could not identify a cause. Only 20% of patients received medical care within 6 months after onset of hearing loss. Lack of awareness on hearing impairment accounted for 48% of the reasons given for delayed presentation.

Conclusion: Infections are perceived to be the most common cause of hearing loss in the investigated population. However, affected patients did not promptly seek medical care. Delayed care seeking was due to lack of awareness in most cases. For the future, more effort is required to increase awareness in the Rwandan population for causes of hearing loss which may modify health seeking behaviour and eventually curb preventable causes of hearing impairment.