World Hearing Day is a global campaign that centers hearing health! Initiated by the World Health Organization (WHO), March 3rd every year marks a call to action that includes raising awareness about hearing loss and useful ways to prevent its development – from a policy to an individual level.
According to WHO, approximately 466 million people (globally) live with disabling hearing loss. A public health epidemic, the number of people impacted by hearing loss is expected to exponentially increase. It is critical to be aware of this health concern and what you can do to prioritize your hearing health.
World Hearing Day: Screen, Rehabilitate, Communicate
This year’s theme, hearing care for all, calls on policymakers to advance public health actions that focus on hearing health. This includes investing in cost-effective interventions that benefit people with hearing loss in addition to integrating hearing healthcare within national health plans. This kind of policy work would create great accessibility to hearing healthcare services, centering prevention and effective care.
World Hearing Day also emphasizes key strategies to address hearing loss:
- Screen: hearing loss, though one of the most common chronic medical conditions, is often underdiagnosed. Several factors contribute to the overlooking of hearing loss: it typically occurs gradually so it can take a long period of time for people to notice, it can be difficult for people to acknowledge changes to their health, and people tend to think hearing loss is not a serious medical condition. A useful way to prevent yourself from these barriers is to incorporate regular hearing screenings into annual health check-ins. Hearing tests involve a simple and non-invasive process that measures hearing ability in both ears. This identifies any impairment and the degree of hearing loss one could be experiencing. Annual screening, like physical health, allows you to monitor your hearing health and intervene if there are changes. Early intervention is incredibly useful in improving overall health outcomes.
- Rehabilitate: fortunately, there are useful ways to treat hearing loss. The most common treatment is hearing aids which are electronic devices that are designed to absorb, amplify, and process sound. Similar to most electronic devices, hearing aids have experienced significant innovation and are smaller and more advanced than ever. There is a wide range of options that offer various features and technologies, allowing the device to be easily integrated into daily life while maximizing hearing support. Hearing aids provide ample support, increasing hearing ability which improves overall health and wellness in a variety of ways.
- Communicate: a major benefit of treating hearing loss and wearing hearing aids is enhanced communication. Hearing aids alleviate the symptoms associated with hearing loss that typically strain communication. Being able to hear and process sound enables people to navigate conversations with great ease and comfort. Strengthened communication improves relationships, job performance, social life, and sense of self.
Hearing Loss: Causes & Symptoms
It is important to understand the scope of hearing loss and have the ability to identify symptoms. Hearing loss can be caused by a variety of factors including:
- Existing Medical Conditions: ranging from diabetes, to hypertension, and cardiovascular disease increases the risk of developing hearing loss
- Exposure to Loud Noise: one time or consistent exposure to loud noise can damage the hair cells in the inner ear, causing permanent damage that results in hearing loss.
- Aging: the risk of age-related hearing loss, also referred to as presbycusis, increases with age as a result of the natural aging process of the auditory system
Other causes include genetic history and injuries. These factors reduce one’s ability to absorb and process sound which produces numerous symptoms including:
- Tinnitus: a buzzing or ringing like noise in the ears
- Sounds are muffled making it difficult to clearly hear
- Increasing the volume on electronic devices
- Asking others to repeat themselves or speak loudly
- Difficulty following conversations and feeling confused
These symptoms can be mild to severe, disrupting daily life and taking a toll on health and wellness.
Hearing Care Tips
Celebrate World Hearing Day by incorporating simple hearing care tips into your daily routine:
- Wear protective gear like earmuffs, earplugs, or headphones
- Reduce your exposure to avoiding loud environments
- Have your hearing tested regularly!
If you are ready to schedule a hearing test, contact us today! We provide comprehensive hearing health services and we look forward to supporting you on your journey to better hearing.