Ear health

The ear is divided into three basic parts – the outer, middle and inner ear. Each part serves a specific purpose in detecting and interpreting sound.

Ear health encompasses numerous conditions that include earaches, tinnitus, vertigo, Meniere’s disease, ear infections and hearing loss.

Long-term exposure to high volume is the most common cause of hearing loss. Over time the tiny hair cells of the inner ear wear out and can no longer convert sound into nerve signals that go to the brain.

Half of all deafness and hearing impairment is avoidable. One quarter of hearing impairment begins during childhood and it creates life-long problems with interpersonal communication, education, employment and social relationships.

Africa has a critical shortage of adequately trained health workers to deliver ear health services to its populations. Interventions against ear and hearing problems can be implemented at the primary level by trained primary ear and hearing care (PEHC) workers or primary health care (PHC) workers or their equivalents.

The Primary Ear and Hearing Care Training Resource – Basic Level, is intended to address this urgent need. This Basic training manual can be used for interactive and culturally appropriate training of village health workers, teachers, parents and other members of the community.