ANKARA

The Turkish Health Ministry data shows that every year around 1.2 million babies are born in Turkey, and 2-3 babies out of 1,000 are born with advanced hearing loss.

According to the ministry data, every year, around 1.2 million babies are born in Turkey, and 2-3 babies out of 1,000 are born with advanced hearing loss. This rate may escalate up to 6% depending on several factors such as ear infections and childhood diseases.

The Family, Labour and Social Services Ministry’s National Disabled Database indicate that the disabled population in Turkey exceeds 2.5 million, with over 1.4 million of them men and more than 1.1 million women. Of the total number, 778,528 are categorized as “heavily disabled”, while around 9% of those disabled are citizens with hearing impairments.

The World Health Organization reports that half of the factors which cause hearing loss are preventable. So, it is essential for infants to be examined for their hearing capabilities and vaccinated against diseases such as measles, meningitis, mumps, and rubella.

On average, 2,500 infants are diagnosed with hearing loss annually in Turkey. The country periodically screens infants and school children to diagnose hearing losses at an early stage, while simple and affordable tests also help early diagnosis.

The tests are conducted at 1,047 screening centers, including public and private hospitals at the country’s 81 provinces. For advanced diagnosis and treatment, 62 reference centers across Turkey are also in operation.

Turkish health officials say they aim to create conditions to enable children with hearing losses to enjoy their life unhindered and for healthier generations overall. They also point out that impaired children’s families should also actively get involved in screening and diagnosis processes.

* Written by Ahmet Gencturk

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