The Republic of the Union of Myanmar has a population of 50.5 million people who are supported by around only 175 ENT surgeons and at present, there are no trained Audiologists or Speech & Language Therapists in the country – as such, any hearing testing is generally carried out by medical staff who are only partly trained in this field. Likewise, hearing aids are not freely available for any person who is diagnosed with a permanent significant hearing loss and any hearing aid must be paid for by a private source, a cost well beyond the means of most working Burmese people.
In November 2014, HCC Trustees Dr Tony Sirimanna, Consultant Audiological Physician at Great Ormond Street Hospital and Bevan Allen RHAD FSHAA were invited by Professor Maung Maung Khaing Head of the Otolaryngology at the Yangon ENT Hospital to give lectures in Tinnitus Management and Audiological Medicine to residents, ENT Trainees and nurses at the hospital.
These lectures were the very first of their kind in Mynamar and were very well received and the trip was sponsored by The Hearing Conservation Council who are also inviting Myanmar to continue to support the WHO in their endeavours to promote the prevention of Hearing Impairment worldwide.
We are currently considering project ideas that will help to establish a better foundation for basic ENT care in Myanmar – with the ultimate aim of providing training for more local Audiologists and Speech and Language Therapists if funding can be raised. A further field trip is planned for September 2015 where initial findings will be further explored.