Sounding off AOM (Acute Otitis Media)

You’ll be surprise to know that some children having difficulty in learning might actually be suffering from hearing problems. Some of the common causes of hearing loss are accumulated earwax, intake of certain medications,excessive noise exposure, old age and ear infection or in some rare occurences Otitis Media.

Acute Otitis Media (Latin) is caused by inflammation of the middle ear. It is also referred to as middle ear infection. It occurs in the area between the tympanic membrane and the inner ear, including a duct known as the eustachian tube. It is one of the two categories of ear inflammation that underlies what is commonly called an earache, the other being otitis externa.

The onset of AOM complications necessitates medical and surgical interventions that result in substantial economic burden for the family. If left untreated, this painful disease can lead to hearing loss, or in some cases serious complications like facial nerve paralysis, meningitis and a brain abscess which makes it necessary for primary care physicians to properly diagnose and treat AOM.

Three out of 4 children worldwide will suffer from Otitis Media before they reach the age of 3. AOM is the leading cause of ailments amongst Filipino children as it ranks as the 8th leading cause of ailments leading to hearing loss, delayed speech and other sequelae such as impaired mental development that affects the child’s development, academic performance, social interaction and general health.

Although alarming, deafness or hearing impairment is potentially preventable. Protection against AOM (Acute Otitis Media) can be achieved through vaccination thanks to the help of technology and medical research. GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) has developed a vaccine against AOM and hence prevent needless suffering and developmental delays among the kids. Pediatric infectious disease experts of the Philippines like Dr. Lulu Bravo of the Philippine Foundation for Vaccination and Dr. Sally Gatchalian, who is also the Medical Director for Vaccines of GlaxoSmithKline Philippines lauds GSK for its commitment in fighting child Accute Otitis Media and for continuously researching ways to prevent the disease.

To celebrate Deaf Awareness Week this year, a Medical Mission in Bgy. Dona Imelda, Quezon City was held last November 20, 2013 to empower the deaf community and help raise awareness on hearing impairment. This collaborative effort of Better Hearing Philippines, St. Lukes Medical Center, UST McAudio Department in partnership with GlaxoSmithKline Philippines was participated in by parents, educators, service providers, hearing and hearing-disable individuals. Deaf Awareness Week pays tribute to countless individuals who endeavor to have access to education to enable them to become productive members of their community despite their hearing impairments.

Part of the advocacy in promoting preventive and treatment measures means addressing the hearing problem. “Protecting children through breastfeeding, adequate nutrition,frequent hand washing, avoidance of tobacco smoke and vaccination can go a long way towards ensuring that your child hears the worlds through clear ears,” said Pediatric Otorhinolaryngologist, Dr. Gretchen Navarro-Locsin.