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Original Research Articles

Knowledge and Beliefs about Ear and Hearing Health among Mothers of Young Children in a Rural Community in South India

Authors:

Meivizhi Narayansamy,

Melbourne, AU
About Meivizhi

The author is an Audiologist in Melbourne, Australia. She completed her graduation and post-graduation at Department of Speech, Language and Hearing Sciences of Sri Ramachandra University, Porur in Chennai, India

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Vidya Ramkumar ,

Department of Speech, Language and Hearing Sciences, Sri Ramachandra University, Porur, Chennai, IN
About Vidya

The author is a Senior Lecturer in Department of Speech, Language and Hearing Sciences. She was a Fulbright Nehru Doctoral Professional Research Fellow between 2013-14. Her areas of research and publication experience are tele-audiology, community based service, infant hearing screening, tinnitus and electrophysiological testing. 

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Roopa Nagarajan

Department of Speech, Language and Hearing Sciences, Sri Ramachandra University, Chennai, IN
About Roopa

The author is a Vice Principal at Faculty of Allied Health Sciences and is the Chairperson of Departmnet of Speech, Language and Hearing Sciences. She is an East West Centre awardee. Her areas of clinical focus are community based programs for individuals with cleft, lip and palate and community based tele-audiology applications.

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Abstract

Purpose: To study the knowledge and beliefs about ear and hearing healthcare among mothers from a rural community.

Method: In 1 week, 6 focus group discussions were conducted across 6 villages of a district in Tamil Nadu in southern India. The participants were 60 mothers who had children below 5 years of age.

Results: Mothers in this rural community had information about some aspects of ear and hearing healthcare. They were aware that use of hairpins and safety-pins to clean ears was harmful; they were knowledgeable about ways to identify hearing ability (child responds to name call, verbal instructions, and startles at loud sounds); and, conditions like consanguinity and malnutrition of expectant mothers were recognised as risk factors for hearing loss. However, misconceptions also existed. The practice of pouring herbal juices to remove insects in the ear continued; there was the perception that all children with a hearing problem were “deaf”, and a lack of awareness about the possibility of partial/unilateral hearing loss. Regarding the age of identification, mothers believed that a child’s ability to speak and  the ability to hear was pertinent to assess hearing. None of the mothers related normal speech development to normal hearing.

Conclusion: For the success of a community-based hearing screening programme, it is important to utilise the existing knowledge of the mothers, and simultaneously attempt to fill in gaps in knowledge and clarify misconceptions. These measures will facilitate greater compliance from the community in achieving the goals of early identification and early intervention for problems of hearing loss.

How to Cite: Narayansamy, M., Ramkumar, V. and Nagarajan, R., 2014. Knowledge and Beliefs about Ear and Hearing Health among Mothers of Young Children in a Rural Community in South India. Disability, CBR & Inclusive Development, 25(4), pp.119–135. DOI: http://doi.org/10.5463/dcid.v25i4.328
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Published on 25 Dec 2014.

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