3D Printing of Hearing Devices among New Services Planned for HMC’s Audiology and Balance Unit
Doha, 15 September, 2019: The relocation of Hamad Medical Corporation’s (HMC) Audiology and Balance Unit from Rumailah Hospital to the Ambulatory Care Center (ACC) last year has enabled care teams to serve more patients, with over 26,000 patient visits recorded in the last 14 months.
Dr. Khalid Abdul Hadi, Senior Consultant, Hearing and Balance Disorders and Director of the Audiology and Balance Unit, said moving to the new hospital in June of last year has also provided capacity for new services, including new technology that will enable the production of 3D printed hearing devices.
“The Audiology and Balance Unit provides comprehensive diagnosis, treatment, and monitoring for adults and children who are experiencing disorders of the hearing and balance systems. We treat a range of conditions, including hearing loss, tinnitus, and chronic ear disease. We operate across HMC’s network of hospitals and our main clinics are located at the ACC and in Building 316 in Hamad Bin Khalifa Medical City,” said Dr. Hadi.
“Qatar is recognized as a leader in the early detection of hearing weakness due to the establishment of the National Center for Early Detection of Hearing Loss. This Center provides hearing screenings to all babies born in Qatar before their discharge from the hospital. We are always looking at new technology and training to ensure we meet the increasing demand for specialized hearing care services in Qatar. We’ve developed a partnership with Canada’s University of Toronto which has seen dozens of our staff complete specialized diploma programs in clinical audiology and soon we will implement 3D printing. This new technology will help us shortened the hearing aid manufacturing process and allow us to produce custom ear molds and devices for our patients,” added Dr. Hadi.
Since opening in 2003, HMC’s Audiology and Balance Unit has fitted over 7,200 patients with hearing aids and helped 275 patients hear again, or in some cases for the first time, by providing cochlear implants. Dr. Hadi said that since transferring services to the ACC, over 26,000 patient visits have been recorded, including over 95 patients having received aural rehabilitation in the audiology laboratory and 8,235 patients receiving treatment for dizziness disorders (vertigo).
“Most of the patients we treat have sensorineural hearing loss. The condition can be present at birth (congenital) or can become evident later in life (acquired). Acquired hearing loss can be caused by several factors, including exposure to loud noise, aging, head trauma, or a virus or disease. Congenital hearing loss typically happens during pregnancy as a result of genetic conditions or abnormal fetal growth,” said Dr. Hadi.
“Our team consists of audiologists, physicians, technicians, highly qualified nurses, and support staff, all of who work together to provide a comprehensive hearing and balance service. We treat patients of all ages – from newborns to the elderly, and most of our patients are successfully treated without surgical intervention,” added Dr. Hadi.
HMC’s Audiology and Balance Unit runs daily outpatient clinics from 7am to 3pm and from 5pm to 9pm and is located on the 5th floor of the ACC. Patients are accepted by referral from their primary healthcare doctor or from HMC’s emergency care services.