World Hearing Day is a campaign held each year by Office of Prevention of Blindness and Deafness of the World Health Organization (WHO). Activities take place across the entire globe and an event at WHO’s headquarter in Geneva is held each year on March 3rd. The campaign’s objective is to share information and promote actions towards the prevention of hearing loss and improved hearing care. Each year, the WHO selects a theme, develops educational materials, and makes these available and accessible in several languages. It also coordinates and reports on events around the globe.
The theme of WHO’s campaign for 2019 is “Check your hearing“. Statistics gathered from both developed and developing countries indicate that a significant part of the burden associated with hearing loss comes from unaddressed hearing difficulties. A study conducted in the United Kingdom indicate that only 20% of those who have a hearing problem seek treatment.A study performed in South Africa reported that individuals who experience hearing difficulties wait between 5 and 16 years to seek diagnosis and treatment.The longer an individual waits to get diagnosed with hearing loss, the worse their symptoms can become. Treating hearing loss has been linked to emotional well being, stronger relationships, higher earning power and fighting the onset of dementia. World Hearing Day is a call for people around the globe to educate themselves and loved ones about hearing loss and encourages people to get tested and treated.
Causes of Hearing Loss
You can inherit hearing loss from your family. It is also common for hearing loss to happen as you get older. Some causes of hearing loss in adults include:
- Very loud noise. Loud noise can cause permanent hearing loss. Noise-induced hearing loss is painless and usually happens over time. Hearing an extremely loud sound, like an explosion, can cause a sudden hearing loss. This can be prevented with consistent use of hearing protection.
- Ototoxic medications. There are some medicines that can cause hearing loss. You should talk with your doctor about the medicines you take.
- Physical head injury. A traumatic brain injury (TBI), hole in the eardrum, and damage to the middle ear can cause hearing loss.
- Presbycusis. This is a hearing loss that happens as you get older. Signs of Hearing Loss
Symptoms of Hearing Loss
Hearing loss can manifest in many different ways. Depending on the degree or severity of the hearing loss, symptoms can range from occasional difficulty understanding words to inability to communicate with others and social isolation. While there are a few different types of hearing loss and many different causes, the symptoms are generally similar regardless of type or cause. Symptoms of hearing loss include;
- Listening to television or radio at a high volume
- Trouble understanding speech, especially in noisy environments
- The perception that others are mumbling
- Difficulty hearing people on the phone
- Often asking people to repeat themselves
- Avoiding social situations
- Exhaustion after attending social events
- Tinnitus, or ringing in the ears
The Consequences of Untreated Hearing Loss
Untreated hearing loss can lead to social, physical and psychological problems. The effects of hearing loss are different for each individual, but most hearing-impaired people suffer some social, psychological and physical problems as a result of their hearing loss. In general, hearing-impaired people who suffer from untreated hearing loss express less physical well-being than people with normal hearing and hard-of-hearing people who use hearing aids. There are many studies that link hearing loss with a greater risk of dementia and lower earning power at work.
Hearing loss is Widespread – and Growing
According to the WHO, approximately one third of people over 65 years of age are affected by disabling hearing loss and are potentially at risk of affecting their overall health if untreated. Hearing aids can help people regain lost hearing and help them participate in life to it’s fullest.
How can you take action on World Hearing Day?
If you have concerns about your hearing, or have someone in your life that shows signs of hearing loss, make an appointment with us at Audibel! Hearing tests are easy and painless. Don’t delay and contact us to set up an appointment to celebrate World Hearing Day!