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World Hearing Day is celebrated annually by the World Health Organization (WHO) on March 3rd. Each year the World Health Organization focuses on a different theme that revolves around global hearing health and this year, in 2019, the World Hearing Day theme is “Check your hearing!,” drawing attention to the importance of early identification and intervention for hearing loss. World Hearing Day is the largest global awareness campaign on hearing health that calls for action to address hearing loss. To learn more, read on!
What is World Hearing Day and What is it Trying to Achieve?
The World Health Organization’s World Hearing Day is the largest global awareness campaign on ear and hearing health and calls for action to address hearing loss on a global scale. Its main aims are to promote public health actions for ear and hearing health, raise awareness on hearing loss at community and national levels across the globe, and encourage behavior change towards healthy ear and hearing health practices.
You may ask “why so much emphasis on hearing health on such a grand scale?” In the U.S. alone, close to 48 million people are faced with some level of hearing loss. On a global scale, approximately 466 million people live with hearing loss. Hearing loss as a health concern is often overlooked, but is one of the most pressing issues today.
Why Does World Hearing Day Matter?
With over 450 million people living with hearing loss in the world today, this number is on the rise. Unless action is taken, by 2030 nearly 630 million people will be living with disabling hearing loss, and that number is projected to rise to 900 million by 2050. This expected prevalent rise in hearing loss in the coming decades is due to changing population demographics (greater amount of people aging), increasing exposure to unsafe noise levels, and growth of untreated ear conditions. Such realities shed light on the importance of WHO’s World Hearing Day and its efforts to spread awareness and strategically mitigate current trends of hearing loss.
What Is Hearing Loss and What Causes It?
A person who is unable to hear as well as someone with normal hearing is considered to have some form of hearing loss. The severity of hearing loss can be separated into three main groups: mild hearing loss, moderate hearing loss, and severe hearing loss. Someone with mild hearing loss may find it challenging to comprehend conversations in noisy places like a restaurant, bar, or sporting event. A person with moderate hearing loss may find difficult to understand regular conversations unless voices are raised. Those experiencing severe hearing loss fail to hear even very loud sounds in close distance to their ears.
Very much like the types of hearing loss, a varying degree of things can cause hearing loss. Among newborns, hearing loss could be that of family history, premature birth, lack of oxygen at the time of birth, or infections suffered by the mother during pregnancy. Among children and adults, the causes range from injury to the head or ear, infections, blockage of the ear canal, or exposure to very loud sounds. With a plethora of hearing loss causes, there isn’t just one solution in protecting your child, yourself, or your loved one from hearing loss. Read on to see WHO’s strategies in avoiding hearing loss.
Hearing Loss is Preventable: What Can You Do to Avoid Hearing Loss?
On an individual level, one of the most important things you can do to mitigate hearing loss is to not insert anything, even cotton swabs, into your ear. Any object that goes too far into the canal may be damaging to the sensitive inner ear regions. Using earplugs and earmuffs in extremely noisy areas helps drastically. Studies have shown that one of the more common causes for hearing loss is noise induced. It is important to not go untreated when it comes to hearing loss. Thus, you should have your hearing tested regularly. Seek consultation from a hearing health professional if you’re suffering from any type of hearing problems.
If you are a parent, caretaker, or someone who works with youth, educate them on ear care and about the risks of putting objects into their ears and how dangerous that can be to their hearing ability. Advise those slightly older who use audio devices to put down the volume when listening to music. Extremely loud noises can be detrimental to their hearing ability. If the child complains about pain or blockage, consider taking your child to see a hearing health professional.
“Check Your Hearing” on World Hearing Day 2019 with South Shore Hearing Center
The best thing you can do for your hearing health, if you haven’t already, is to make an appointment for a hearing test. With such prevalence in hearing loss not only on a national scale but also a global one, undergoing a base line hearing test will allow hearing health professionals to understand your current level of hearing loss and be able to treat your hearing loss accordingly. Mark your calendars for World Hearing Day on March 3rd!