Aural Rehabilitation And Out Reach- A Paradigm Shift In Approach
Hearing loss being the most common sensory deficit is said to affect around 250 million people around the world with one in thousand live births suffering from hearing impairment.1 At the global level the onset of hearing loss is estimated to be the second biggest contributor to years lived with disability (YLD’s).2 As such hearing impairment is an important health condition and should be treated as an inevitable cost of norm referenced criteria set by international standards across the life span of an individual.3
It is an acknowledged fact that in a developing country like Pakistan there is a dearth of audiologists with a continuing trend of consanguineous marriages, malnutrition, inadequate birth conditions and lack of proper hygienic conditions besides many other factors leading to most congenital and childhood hearing loss. Being the sixth most populous country in the world with ever increasing ageing population and occupation related burden of hearing loss demands on the health care system needs to be addressed along with the need for tailoring hearing rehabilitation specific to the elderly with consideration of comorbidities, cognitive decline, depression and the awareness of the impact of these concomitant age-related disorders upon hearing treatment.4
Keeping in view the fact that there was a need to address the gap between the identification, assessment, treatment and management services available for persons with hearing loss in the country, Isra University took the plunge and devised and launched the Post Graduate Program in Hearing Sciences at its Islamabad Campus witnessing the successful entry into the clinical domain of two batches of MPhil in Hearing Sciences. 5
The discipline of hearing sciences has topics ranging from identification to diagnosis of hearing loss and other hearing related communication difficulties, patient and family counseling, selection and fitting of listening devices, communication strategies training, speech and language therapy and management and lumped at academic level.
A visible impact of the Hearing Sciences Program has been that these professionals have spread across the length and breath of the country. These professionals are in the cities, towns and rural areas working in a clinical as well as an academic level. This endeavor by Isra Institute of Rehabilitation Sciences, Isra University, has progressed towards a community based rehabilitation model capable of wider replication.
Timely intervention and management for individuals with substantial hearing disability improves quality of life and enhances social interaction, postulating foundations for ‘healthy aging' thus reducing the economic burden of caring for the aged as the world's population ages therefore ensuring at the same time that patients achieve maximum communication success in their every day environment.
The inspiration that Isra Institute of Rehabilitation Sciences, Isra University drew from was to collectively articulate the rights of individuals suffering from YLD’s, to mobilize the legislators and emphasize the seriousness and significance of the issue and bring it at par with other health care issues which are visible and prone to sensationalism and glamour.
The program of Hearing Sciences may well serve as a platform to embark upon a larger scheme of aural rehabilitation and development of the discipline leading to early intervention at the stages from infancy to old age and a trained workforce to rehabilitate and bring or retain into the mainstream of society as a valuable member of the community.
The discipline of Hearing Sciences is a two year post graduate program initiated by Isra Institute of Rehabilitation Sciences which is inclusive of clinical training and is research oriented or research intensive leading to a rapidly increasing digital data base assimilating with national and international rehabilitation conferences.
Isra University has had the advantage of holding national and international rehabilitation conferences, with the latest being a congress, which brought about rehabilitation experts from across the world at one platform with the input of research from its own faculty.6
- Cederroth CR, Canlon B, Langguth B. Hearing loss and tinnitus [mdash] are funders and industry listening?. Nature biotechnology. 2013 Nov 1;31(11):972-4.
- Vos T, Flaxman AD, Naghavi M, Lozano R, Michaud C, Ezzati M, Shibuya K, Salomon JA, Abdalla S, Aboyans V, Abraham J. Years lived with disability (YLDs) for 1160 sequelae of 289 diseases and injuries 1990–2010: a systematic analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study 2010. The Lancet. 2012 Dec 15;380(9859):2163-96.
- Bowling A. Research methods in health: investigating health and health services. McGraw-Hill Education (UK); 2014 Jul 1.
- Mirza I, Jenkins R. Risk factors, prevalence, and treatment of anxiety and depressive disorders in Pakistan: systematic review. Bmj. 2004 Apr 1;328(7443):794.
- Joint Committee on Infant Hearing. Year 2007 position statement: principles and guidelines for early hearing detection and intervention programs. Pediatrics. 2007 Oct 1;120(4):898-921.
- <http://www.ijrs.org/ojs/index.php/IJRS/article/view/12>. Date accessed: 03, October , 2017.