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Open Access Hearing aid support for patients with DR-TB in Ethiopia

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SETTING: Previous and current patients with drug-resistant TB (DR-TB) who had documented treatment-related hearing impairment due to second-line injectable (SLI) use were identified from different DR-TB treatment initiation centres in Ethiopia.

OBJECTIVE: To assess selected patients with DR-TB for eligibility for hearing aids and provide hearing aids to 10 eligible patients.

DESIGN: This was an observational cohort study. Patients were followed up for 8 months, with hearing assessments conducted at 1, 3 and 8 months to objectively assess hearing capacity.

RESULTS: Of 12 patients assessed for hearing aids eligibility, 10 were fitted with hearing aids (type XTM XP P4) and followed up for 8 months. “Formal” improvement was observed only in one patient. However, “general quality of life” appeared to be improved in nine patients.

CONCLUSION: Minimal “formal” improvement was observed. However, the study was too small to say whether hearing aids should, or should not, be recommended as a public health measure. This needs a larger better controlled follow-up study. The all-oral DR-TB treatment regimens should be used for all patients with DR-TB in Ethiopia. However, as a proportion of patients with DR-TB are likely to continue receiving SLIs in the foreseeable future, they will require close audiometry assessment and appropriate care.

Keywords: Challenge TB; bedaquiline introduction; drug-resistant-TB

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: KNCV Tuberculosis Foundation, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia 2: Organic Health Care Service, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia 3: KNCV Tuberculosis Foundation, The Hague, The Netherlands 4: United Nations Development Programme, Juba, South Sudan

Publication date: June 21, 2022

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