Any factor that interferes with a child’s ability to interact with the environment in a normal manner is a potential source of, or contributing factor to, the presence of a developmental delay (Rossetti, 2001). According to Bam (2001) the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) is considered as an established risk factor under the category of serious infections and does not only have a negative effect on the normal development of a child, but also leads to serious audiological complications (Bankaitis&Schountz, 1998). Heterogeneity of auditory manifestations in individuals with HIV/AIDS is a feature of this virus (Friedman&Noffsinger, 1998). When considering the wide spectrum of audiological problems associated with pediatric HIV/AIDS, the role of the audiologist in the treatment of these children are highlighted (Bankaitis, 1998). Effective treatment of this heterogeneous population can however only take place within a team of medical professionals as their complex needs require a wide spectrum of skills (McNeilly, 2000). In South Africa nursing personnel play an important role in the early identification of a hearing loss and other audiological abnormalities (Thathiah, 2001). Part of a nurse’s job involve the provision of services in hearing health care, therefore they can serve as assistants for the audiological profession (Thathiah, 2001). Although rehabilitation services in rural areas are limited, developmental disabilities can be prevented or minimized if it is identified early. Early identification of hearing losses and other audiological abnormalities associated with HIV/AIDS can however only take place if nursing personnel have the necessary knowledge and skills to address these problems efficiently. To thus provide optimal audiological services to children with HIV/AIDS nursing personnel must be able to function as a link between the audiologist and the community. In the light of the current government involvement with the provision of optimal health care service to people with HIV and Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS), it is necessary to recognize and address the audiological needs of these individuals. The aim of this study was to determine the perception of nursing personnel, working in state hospitals in North West, regarding the audiological manifestations of HIV/AIDS in the pediatric population. A quantitive research design was employed in the form of a descriptive survey. The knowledge of 156 nursing personnel, working in fifteen different state hospitals in North West, was assessed through the use of a self-constructed questionnaire. This research concluded that the majority of the nursing personnel do not have sufficient knowledge regarding hearing health care and HIV/AIDS within the pediatric population. The assumption can thus be made that these children don’t get sufficient and effective intervention services and this will effect their development as well as quality of life negatively. Furthermore, respondents appeared not to have fully realized the importance of their role as health workers within the audiological context. The nursing personnel identified a need for information regarding the audiological manifestations of HIV/AIDS in the pediatric population and there appears to be a specific role for the audiologist in training the nurses regarding this above mentioned issue. This study emphasizes the importance of early identification and intervention of hearing disorders in children, especially children with HIV, within South Africa and indicates the need for further research with regards to this population.
Dissertation (MCommunication Pathology)--University of Pretoria, 2008.