Wednesday, March 3rd marks World Hearing Day 2021. Every year, this is a day denoted to hearing loss awareness all around the world, spearheaded by the World Health Organisation (WHO). The prevalence of hearing loss among people worldwide and of all ages is steadily rising, something that really does not get the media attention it merits.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates that there will be 900 million people globally with a disabling hearing loss by the year 2050, an incredibly concerning prediction. At the moment, there is roughly 466 million people globally that have a hearing loss, however, only 17% of those 466 million who could benefit from the use of a hearing aid actually use one. That’s only 79.22 million of the 466 million people with a hearing loss around the world using a hearing aid. It is statistics and figures such as these which is why we have a World Hearing Day each year.
The theme for World Hearing Day 2021 is “Hearing care for all! Screen, Rehabilitate, Communicate”. This year, it also marks the launch of the ‘World Report on Hearing’, the very first of its kind, being released by the World Health Organisation. This report is raising a global call for action to address hearing loss and ear diseases.
So, “Hearing care for all! Screen, Rehabilitate, Communicate”, what does this actually mean? The following are just some of the key messages to take away from World Hearing Day 2021:
GOOD HEARING AND COMMUNICATION ARE IMPORTANT AT ALL STAGES OF LIFE
No matter what age you are, having good hearing is vitally important. Not just to hear what’s going on around you, or to listen to your favourite song, but for communication. The COVID-19 pandemic has thought us just how important communication is, whether you are 6, 26 or 96 years old, communication keeps us all connected. Good hearing is extremely important to our general well-being and can significantly influence our mental health.
HEARING LOSS CAN BE AVOIDED
In many cases, hearing loss and related ear diseases can be avoided. There are loud noises every where we go, from traffic noises in cities, power tools, garden tools, music and even household appliances. Taking the correct preventative actions such as wearing ear plugs or reducing down the volume can make a substantial difference to our hearing. Equally good ear care practices such as allowing your ears time to recover after being exposed to loud noises, keeping your ears clean and dry without using cotton buds and even being cautious with what medication you take can all make a difference for the better. Exercising and reducing stress levels are also excellent ways to avoid hearing loss.
TREAT HEARING LOSS IMMEDIATELY
For some reason, it can take up to 10 years before someone with a hearing loss actually takes action and does something about it. Untreated hearing loss can have serious consequences. A decrease in hearing sensitivity is associated with diminished cognitive function, poorer mental health, and social withdrawal. Another survey found significantly higher rates of psychosocial disorders, including depression and anxiety, in individuals with untreated hearing loss - those who were not wearing hearing aids. We cannot stress the importance of treating your hearing loss immediately. Hearing loss can be treated with hearing aids and individuals who treat their hearing loss early have shown significant benefit. Don’t let being self-conscious about hearing aids stop you getting it treated also. At Audiology Medical Services we have a wide range of options available, including the Lyric, which is a hearing aid fitted in to the ear and is 100% invisible.
PEOPLE AT RISK OF HEARING LOSS SHOULD CHECK THEIR HEARING REGULARLY
Hearing loss is one of the world’s most common health problems – and the most ignored! Just like your teeth and your eyes, we believe your ears should be treated as an investment. People with a higher risk of hearing loss are recommended to get their hearing checked regularly. There are a number of factors that put an individual at a higher risk of hearing loss. The first factor is age. People over 60 years old are recommended to have their hearing tested at least every two years. Another factor that puts an individual in the high-risk category are those that are exposed to loud noises regularly. These might be people working with loud machinery or even those that own motorcycles or go to nightclubs or concerts regularly. We recommend anyone in these high-risk categories get their hearing checked on a regular basis.
PEOPLE WITH A HEARING LOSS SHOULD SEEK PROFESSIONAL CARE FROM A HEALTH CARE PROVIDER
If you are concerned about your hearing or a loved one please make an appointment to talk to one of Audiology Medical Services’ clinically trained professional audiologists, available at clinics nationwide. Freephone us on 1800 501 501.