MOH: Nation faces rise in hearing loss as population ages

KOTA KINABALU: There is a need for more awareness and screening of ear health as cases of hearing loss are expected to rise in view of the growing older population in Malaysia, says the Health Ministry.

Citing statistics from Skim PeKa B40, Medical Development Division director Datuk Dr Mohd Azman Yacob said the number of hearing aid recipients have been increasing since the programme began in April 2019.

Skim PeKa is a government initiative via the Health Ministry that looks into the healthcare needs of low-income people.

“There have been 13,218 recipients since then, with the largest benefactors being those aged 70 and above (4,449 people).

“This shows that hearing loss cannot be avoided with age and it will continue to worsen with Malaysia becoming an ageing country,” he said at the launch of the national-level World Hearing Day celebration at Queen Elizabeth Hospital yesterday.

Azman said that records from the World Health Organization (WHO) showed that one in 20 adults and four in 1,000 newborns are found to have hearing problems.

The WHO has estimated that 2.5 billion people will have hearing issues by the year 2050, which is one out of four people, he said.

As such, he said it was important for government agencies to work closely with the private sector in dealing with hearing issues.

This could include reaching out to a wider audience in health screenings, getting interventional medical assistance and so on, he said.

Azman commended ongoing efforts by hospitals and the private sector in carrying out hearing screenings.

He noted that under Budget 2024, an allocation of RM130mil was provided for this purpose.

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