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One child in 12 in rural Pakistan is suffering from hearing loss. Among the most common causes of hearing loss in third world nations are various infectious diseases. In urban areas medical treatment is generally available. But in rural and isolated areas the availability of trained health professionals is limited or non-existent. This is reflected in the known data.

The only existing study on hearing loss among the population in rural Pakistan was published in The Journal of Otolaryngology, vol. 27, Number 6, 1998. 607 children aged between 5 and 15 were screened for hearing loss based on standards set by the Uited Nations' World Health Organization, WHO. Approximately 8% suffered from hearing loss. Of those, two out of three were categorized as mild hearing loss. The primary reason was multiple ear infections in the same ear over short periods of time.

In almost all of the remaining instances, the hearing loss was moderate to profound. A large share of these cases of hearing loss could be traced back to marriages between close relatives, still a common custom in certain areas of Pakistan.

Hearing loss may be a particularly debilitating handicap in areas without widespread use of written language.

Source: The Journal of Otolaryngology, Volume 27, Number 6, 1998: 234-353.

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