Five million Colombians, or about 11 percent of the total population, suffer from hearing problems. In the working population aged between 25 and 50 years, the prevalence of hearing problems is estimated at 14 percent. Yet, only three in ten seek assistance and visit an ENT specialist.
Noise exposure from MP3 players and road traffic, alcohol, medicines and drugs are the main reason for the high hearing loss prevalence in Colombia.
â€œThe main cause for a higher incidence of hearing loss among young age groups is related to increases in our environmental noise level, both from an occupational and leisure exposureâ€, said Ãngela MarÃa LÃ³pez, an audiologist at the Imbaco clinical center and chairman of the Colombian association of audiology, Asoaudio.
The number of hearing impaired people in the developed countries will reach 215 million in 2015. However, it is estimated that in countries like Colombia the prevalence will be twice that of the developed countries due to a high incidence of untreated hearing infections.
Looking for a better future, a campaign run by two Colombian organizations, Asoaudio and Imbanaco, aims to create increased awareness, provide hearing health information and underline the importance of having regular hearing check-ups.