Dr. Richard Nyumu Mwangi, a consultant audiologist working at Nairobi’s Doctors of Hearing is a medic with unerring medical practice. He boasts of decorated curriculum vitae that has seen him travel across the globe in a bid to offer quality services to people suffering from hearing loss. Mwangi’s speciality is highly underserved and this has earned him various accolades, such as being recognised as the top 40 under 40 influential men in 2015.
In this article, WoK chronicles the story of Dr. Richard Nyumu Mwangi.
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Mwangi cut his teeth in the medical field through a pharmacy degree and enrolled for an internship thereafter. However, he got concerned with drugs that were ototoxic (having the ability to damage the ear nerve). This influenced him to specialise in audiology and help people suffering from various degrees of hearing loss.
“It is an interesting healthcare branch that somehow is forgotten but for me the idea came about when I was in my internship after doing a pharmacy course,” he says.
According to the medic, among the various drugs that are ototoxic include quinine, various diabetes drugs, some anticancer drugs, various antibiotics and some drugs used to manage high blood pressure. He explains that other causes of hearing loss are noise, wax impaction, foreign body, congenital and age-related.
Illustrious Academic Achievements
He holds a Masters in Clinical Audiology and Hearing Therapy from International University of Isabel De Castilla in Spain. Additionally, he has a Post Graduate Diploma in Advanced Audiology from Royal Kentalis, Netherlands and a Certificate in International Audiovestibular Rehabilitation from the American Institute of Balance.
Career and giving back to the community
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The consultant works hand in hand with Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) surgeons in diagnosis and treatment of patients. Additionally, he helps companies that venture into steel and cement manufacturing by advising on procurement of noise protectors in order to protect the employees from suffering hearing loss.
“We support them by importing the equipment for them, showing how things are done and doing hearing screening for them,” he told KTN’s Dr. Mercy Korir.
According to Mwangi, the country should embrace hearing screening as soon as the birth of a child. This screening is known as the 1-3-6 method and is first done immediately after birth. If there is an abnormality detected, the screening should be done again at 3 months and up to 6 months. This enables early diagnosis and treatment which benefits the child in competing well academically and socially.
He points out that the cost of hearing aids and cochlear implants is one of the biggest hindrance in his line of duty as they are expensive. Hearing aids could go for thousands of shillings while cochlear implants cost approximately sh 2 million.
Mwangi is a father of 4 and a fitness enthusiast. He is proud of having lost significant number of pounds after he realized he once weighed over 100kgs. This necessitated him to enroll for a gym which saw him get into good shape.
“I had to get back to myself. I think when you are setting up the practice, it took much of my time that I forgot what I ate; the lifestyle thing just went off,” he recalls.