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Medical Negligence Laws in South Africa

What Can You Do If Hearing Loss is the Result of Medical Negligence?

It is essential to get legal advice regarding the medical negligence laws in South Africa and the requirements of a medical negligence claim if you or your child experienced hearing loss because of the actions or omission of actions by a medical practitioner. It is furthermore important to understand your rights as a patient according to medical negligence laws in the country, especially because medical laws differ from country to country.

But, let’s look at hearing loss as the result of medical negligence.

How Hearing Loss Affects the Patient

The human body is reliant on the collection of information through its senses. If hearing loss occurs, it can have a debilitating effect on the person’s ability to interact with their environment and people. Hearing loss for an adult can have effects such as the inability to perform specific job-related tasks, communicate with their children, and even activities such as driving a vehicle can become rather challenging.

For a baby or child, hearing loss affects their development and learning processes. They may find it difficult to communicate with peers, understand instructions, enjoy life, and to speak. They may need special education because they cannot function in the normal school system.

All of the above are effects of the hearing loss. One of the requirements for medical negligence claims, according to the medical laws of South Africa, is that there must be physical injury and damages must be suffered. The above are damages suffered because of the injury, which resulted in hearing loss.

Types of Hearing Loss

Three categories of hearing loss can be distinguished. Conductive hearing loss is related to damage of the ear canal, tiny bones in the ear, the ear drum, and the middle ear. Sensor neural loss relates to damage or problems in the inner ear, while a combination of the above two relates to damage of various parts of the ear.


Hearing loss at birth can be the result of a birth defect, illness, or medical negligence which has caused damage. Hearing loss later in life can also be caused by medical negligence which led to injury, or it can be caused by an illness, aging, or trauma to the ear.

When it comes to surgical medical negligence, errors such as leaving a foreign object in the ear after surgery, mistake during a surgical procedure, or improper treatment of an ear condition can lead to permanent damage. A brain surgery mistake can also lead to partial or complete loss of hearing if a relevant part of the brain has been affected by the mistake. Failure to diagnose a bacterial infection or a tumour in a timely manner can lead to permanent hearing loss.

Seek Legal Advice in South Africa

With medical negligence laws being complex, it is recommended to seek legal advice as soon as possible from the date of incident. Our medical law attorneys at Adele van der Walt Incorporated will help you to determine the merits of the claim, explain the procedures to follow and take the necessary steps to seek compensation for the damages suffered, including the cost of past, present and future medical treatments, the loss of life enjoyment, post-care because of the injury, and loss of income.


Information in this article is not intended as legal advice and is only for informational purposes. Please seek legal guidance from Adele van der Walt before relying on this information to make any legal decisions.

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