Impacted earwax causes poor learning among kids

By Ames Dean H. Ibarra

NAGA CITY — A group of ears, nose and tongue (ENT) doctors coming from two health institutions here in Bicol now believe that impacted earwax may be one of the greatest factors behind the significant downfall in academic performance among school children.

In connection with the Deafness Awareness Week, the ENT’s of the Bicol Access Health Centrum and Bicol Medical Center conducted a free ear checkup and cleaning for elementary kids from Triangulo Elementary School at barangay Triangulo in this city and found out that more than half of the patients they had were plagued with hardened earwax or Otitis Media, an inflammation of the ear or middle ear infection commonly known as bulbog in the Bicol language.

“There were only very few there with good clean ears.  This problem could be blamed for the lack of attention that parents give to their children’s ears,” Dr. Marifee Reyes, ENT and coordinator of the said event said.  “Our ears is the most neglected organ in our bodies because we rarely take ourselves or our young ones to the doctor for ear consultation.”

Reyes stressed that this problem could lead to poor learning ability and unsatisfactory school performance.  Although it is unlikely for it to result to total loss of hearing, kids with impacted earwax are still known to exhibit hearing problems which causes them to miss out on whatever the teachers are saying.

“I think parents should be more vigilant about this.  They should know that there are hospitals, clinics and doctors around their community that could help them take care of their children’s ears,” adds Reyes.

The said free consultation was done as part of the series of activities of the celebration of the Deafness Awareness Week which aims to enlighten the public about the common causes of hearing loss, particularly among young children and infants.

It involved 67 school kids, 30 of which were found to have impacted earwax on one or both ears while 9 had otitis media.  Meanwhile, among the Special Education (SPED) group, youth with partial or total hearing loss, 19 had impacted earwax and 2 had otitis media.  Among the normal kids, only 24 had clean ears while 36 in the SPED group passed the cleanliness test.

“Actually, organization is already mulling on the possibility of creating a study on how impacted earwax affects school performance.  We also want to know whether or not family income could be a factor in the occurrence of these cases because all of these kids that we examined came from low-income backgrounds,” Reyes revealed.

Here in Naga, Deafness Awareness Week was celebrated with a poster exhibit which started last November 18 and ends at the 20th at the lobby of the Bicol AccessHealth Centrum which features facts regarding early hearing loss.  There were is a series of free consultations for children in various elementary schools which will continue until next week.  Last Nov. 19, a seminar and forum was organized at the Events Center of SM City Naga where nursing students, nurses, parents and more school children were educated on ear care.  The event was entitled “How Loud is Too Loud” and “Hearing in the Newborns” which featured lectures by Dr. Neil Peñaflor and Dr. Diosdado Uy, two of the most respected ENT’s of Bicol.

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