13 May 2009

Medicine misuse causing hearing loss among Chinese children

Up to 10,000 new cases of hearing loss among Chinese children are found each year due to medicine misuse.

The Chinese population consumes antibiotics on a large scale to treat colds, sore throats and other minor common conditions. It ìs well known that certain kinds of antibiotics may cause hearing loss. Annually, 10,000 new cases of hearing loss in children appear to be caused by medicine abuse, according to a Chinese national report.

Parents and doctors to blame

Chinese parents trust their doctors and antibiotics, yet doctors often accept kickbacks from pharmaceutical companies in return for prescribing these medicines. About one in four antibiotics prescriptions is considered inappropriate.

“Doctors should be clear about medicines that may harm hearing and it is highly undesirable for parents to think expensive antibiotics are the most effective,” commented Liu Jinfeng, director of the China Rehabilitation Research Center for Deaf Children in the People's Daily newspaper.

More action needed

The Chinese government is trying to limit antibiotics misuse, but more controls are needed.

In China, 24 percent of the population suffers from hearing loss. The number of Chinese children under the age of seven years with some degree of hearing loss exceeds 800,000, and 30,000 newborns annually have hearing loss due to hereditary conditions, infections or medicine misuse.

A good hearing is essential for the development of speech and psychological and social skills.

Sources: www.audioprotesistas.org

Read more: Children and hearing loss

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