Preventing hearing loss

Dr Navneet Gupta
THEME: Changing mindsets:Let’s make ear and hearing care a reality for all!
Hearing loss has often been referred to as an “invisible disability”, not just because of the lack of visible symptoms, but because it has long been stigmatized in communities and ignored by policy-makers.( Tedrose Adanam Ghebreyesus WHO President)
World Hearing Day 2024 will focus on overcoming the challenges posed by societal misperceptions and stigmatizing mindsets through awareness-raising and information-sharing, targeted at the public and health care providers.
Key messages
* Globally, over 80% of ear and hearing care needs remain unmet.
* Unaddressed hearing loss poses an annual cost of nearly US$1 trillion globally.
* Deeply ingrained societal misperceptions and stigmatizing mindsets are key factors that limit efforts for preventing and addressing hearing loss.
* Changing mindsets related to ear and hearing care is crucial to improving access and mitigating the cost of unaddressed hearing loss.
World Hearing Day 2024 will be observed with the following objectives:
Counter the common misperceptions related to ear and hearing problems in communities and among health care providers.
Provide accurate and evidence-based information to change public perceptions of ear and hearing problems.
Call on countries and civil society to address misperceptions and stigmatizing mindsets related to hearing loss, as a crucial step towards ensuring equitable access to ear and hearing care.
On World Hearing Day, we remember the importance of hearing and the audiobook industry. We hope that this day will help to promote awareness of this important sector and help to improve its future.
Every year on March 3, World Hearing Day is observed to encourage ear and hearing care worldwide and to increase awareness of ways to avoid deafness and hearing loss. WHO chooses the theme each year and creates evidence-based advocacy materials, including presentations, booklets, flyers, posters, banners, and posters. Along with WHO regional and national offices, these resources are disseminated to partners in government and civil society all across the world. WHO hosts an annual celebration of World Hearing Day at its headquarters in Geneva. A growing number of Member States and other partner organizations have participated in World Hearing Day in recent years by holding a variety of activities and events in their nations. WHO welcomes all parties to participate in this international endeavor.
OBJECTIVE of World Hearing Day
The purpose of World Hearing Day is to promote hearing care around the globe and increase awareness of ways to avoid hearing loss and deafness. Hearing aids and other measures that can help with hearing loss are not widely available.
HISTORY of World Hearing Day
WHO claims that the day was established in 2007 in an effort to increase public awareness of deafness. Initially known as International Ear Day, it was renamed World Hearing Day in 2016.
What It Means
To spread awareness about safe listening, the WHO has enlisted the help of governments, business partners, and civil society organizations. According to the statement, this year will see the introduction of the safe listening guidebook and a global standard for safe listening entertainment venues.
If someone can’t hear as well as someone with normal hearing, that person is considered to have hearing loss or be deaf. One or both ears may be affected, and the hearing loss may be mild, moderately severe, severe, or extremely severe.
What factors contribute to hearing loss?
Hearing loss can have many different causes, but the most common ones are genetics and difficulties during birth. The use of specific medicines, recurrent ear infections, and exposure to loud noise are some of the additional factors. Another factor that contributes to hearing loss or deafness is aging.
THEME of World Hearing Day
The theme chosen by the WHO for this year’s World Hearing Day is “To hear for life, listen with care.” It focuses on the significance of strategies for preventing hearing loss through safe listening.
The global health organization also aims to spread the following message with the theme: Safe listening can reduce the risk of hearing loss associated with recreational sound exposure, many common causes of hearing loss can be prevented, and it is possible to maintain good hearing throughout life with proper ear and hearing care.
“Ear and hearing care for all! Let’s make it a reality” was the motto of World Hearing day 2023, “To hear for life, listen with attention” was the motto for World Hearing Day in 2022.
“Hearing Care for All” served as the campaign’s theme for 2021.
The 2020 election campaign’s theme was “Audible for Life Don’t allow a hearing impairment limit you.”
FACTS about World Hearing Day
According to the WHO, by 2050, there will be at least 700 million people who need hearing rehabilitation and nearly 2.5 billion people who have some degree of hearing loss.
Additionally, it claimed that over a billion young individuals were at risk of developing permanent, preventable hearing loss as a result of risky listening habits.
More than 5% of the world’s population, according to the WHO, needs rehabilitation for their “disabling” hearing loss.
Ear and hearing care for all! Let’s make it a reality. CDC supports the World Health Organization’s World Hearing Day, on March 3rd. World Hearing Day promotes ear and hearing care across the world and raises awareness of how to prevent deafness and hearing loss.
This year we stress the following points:
* Ear and hearing problems are among the most common problems encountered in the community.
* Over 60% of these can be identified and addressed at the primary level of care.
* Integration of ear and hearing care into primary care services is possible through training and capacity building at this level.
* Such integration will benefit people and help countries move towards the goal of universal health coverage.
Tips for Healthy Ears
* Use earplugs in noisy places
* Check your hearing regularly
* Wear your hearing aids regularly when advised
* See a doctor if you have ear or hearing problems
* Put cotton buds, oil, sticks or pins inside your ears
* Swim or wash in dirty water
* Share earphones or earbuds
* Listen to loud sounds or loud music
According to the World Health Organization
* More than 360 million people live with disabling hearing loss.
* More than 1 billion people aged 12-35 years are at risk of hearing loss due to recreational noise exposure.
* Globally, the overall cost of not addressing hearing loss is more than $750 billion.
So lets unite together to
Deeply ingrained societal misperceptions and stigmatizing mindsets are key factors that limit efforts for preventing and addressing hearing loss. Changing mindsets related to ear and hearing care is crucial to improving access and mitigating the cost of unaddressed hearing loss.
(The author is Assistant Professor, Dept. of ENT Consultant Audiologist & Speech Language Pathologist at ASCOMS, Hospital & College Sidhra, Jammu)