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Bhutan Health Ministry takes initiative to screen hearing impairments

Thimphu: To eradicate avoidable deafness, the Bhutan Ministry of Health has initiated a hearing screening for the country’s entire population and will also provide hearing aids to those suffering from partial hearing impairmentsThe Bhutan Live reported.

The ministry of health has planned to screen everyone for hearing impairments within the next four to six months.

The ministry will offer free digital hearing aids to everyone who has some hearing loss. Also, the Jigme Dorji Wangchuck National Referral Hospital (JDWNRH) has begun performing cochlear implant procedures for people who have severe hearing loss, according to The Bhutan Live.

A cochlear implant is a sophisticated electrical gadget that improves hearing by stimulating ear nerves. The health ministry will begin line-listing everyone in every district, according to Health Minister Dechen Wangmo, starting the following month.

A report in The Bhutan Live read, according to the plan, line-listing will be finished in a month, and screening will follow. Then, to determine if any of the diagnosed people need surgical procedures or people who need assistive technology. We will give them a free hearing aid and perform the fitting if they need one, said Wangmo.

Digital hearing devices were given to eight students from Paro’s Wangsel Institute for the Deaf on Saturday.

In 2023, Tshokey Wangmo, a student at the Wangsel Institute for the Deaf, had hearing loss as a child. “I completely lost my hearing. I used to be unable to answer when my teacher called my name in the past. But, I can now understand what the teacher is saying when they speak to me,” he said.

Another student at the institute, Chador Gyeltshen said that he started using his old hearing aid in 2017 and today he got a new one. The previous analogue heading aid that he used made a lot of noise, which was disturbing. “But the new one that I got produces a clear sound,” Gyelshen said.

The screening initiative is a part of the Health Ministry’s program named Hear Listen and Speak. The patients suffering from hearing impairment will also be given speech therapies to enhance their speech, The Bhutan Live reported.

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