Awareness of Ear Health Care among Urban City Residents, in South‑South, Nigeria
Background: Exposure to Sound Pressure Levels (SPL) above 85 dB over 8 hours is potentially damaging to the ears. Unfortunately, many people may be unaware of the adverse effects of such SPL on the ear and quality of life. The level of awareness of hearing test has not been adequately determined in our region, a developing world. Some even seek ear care from unauthorized facilities and persons who often recommended inappropriate medications and treatment. The objectives of this study were to assess specifically the respondents’ level of awareness of sound levels that could cause hearing loss, determine the number of respondents who have had a hearing test, and the sources of ear healthcare among residents in an urban city in South-South, Nigeria.
Participants and Methods: An interviewee‑administered questionnaire under three sections: socio‑demographics; awareness of damaging sound levels and their sources; hearing testing and ear health care was used to collect data from 274 consenting respondents. Data were analyzed using IBM Statistical Product and Service Solution version 26.0. Results were presented on frequencies, percentages, tables, and figures. A P ≤ 0.05% was considered statistically significant at a 5% level of significance.
Results: The respondents were aged between 10 and 74 years, and a median age of 24 years. Most 202 (73.7%) were males, while 72 (26.3%) were females, with male: female = 2.8:1. The greater proportion 223 (81.4%) were single; 177 (64.6%) were students; 16 (5.8%) were unemployed and 21 (7.7%) civil servants. Of the 274 consenting participants, only 79 (28.8%) were aware that the numerical value of noise level above 85 dB could cause damage to hearing. Only a small proportion with tertiary education 28 (10.2%) reported having had a hearing test. All the respondents in occupations prone to high levels of noise never had a hearing test. There was a statistically significant association between the types of ear drop/substance used by respondents and the attendant health personnel (P = 0.0001).
Conclusion/Recommendation: There is poor awareness of ear health care among urban city dwellers in Calabar, South‑South, Nigeria. Most young adults aged 20–29 years were aware that loud noise is hazardous to hearing. Generally, there was ignorance on objective numerical noise levels for hazard; the importance of hearing testing; and utilization of appropriate ear care facilities for treatment of ear diseases. Public health education on appropriate ear healthcare is highly recommended.
Keywords: Ear Health care Practices, Hearing Test, Sound levels