MEDIA RELEASE: WORLD HEARING DAY: 3 MARCH 2017
“Hearing is the soul of knowledge and information of a high order. To be cut off from hearing is to be isolated indeed.” Helen Keller
“Action for hearing loss: Make a sound investment”
World Hearing Day is an annual event held on 3 March each year to raise awareness and promote ear and hearing care across the world. The theme for World Hearing Day 2017 is ‘Action for hearing loss: make a sound investment‘. This theme highlights the economic impact of hearing loss on the individual and society. It draws attention to the fact that interventions to address hearing loss are cost effective. It places emphasis on the importance of investing financial resources, time and effort to seeking timely hearing care, such as have hearing tested by an audiologist with suitable equipment.
Loud noise, ear infections, diabetes, kidney disease, and many other conditions can cause hearing loss that may go undetected for many years, silently interfering with your quality of life without you even realizing it. Importantly, those who have hearing loss can benefit greatly from early identification and suitable, timely interventions.
Healthy Hearing- Taken for Granted
The importance of healthy hearing is often taken for granted. Hearing empowers us and enriches our lives. Hearing enables us to socialize, work, interact, communicate and even relax. Good hearing also helps to keep us safe, warning us of potential danger or alerting us to someone else’s distress. Our hearing makes it possible to engage, listen, laugh, love, and enjoy many of the small things that help shape our quality of life.
Hearing impairment impedes the ability to participate in and experience many of life’s cherished moments, such as the appreciation, if not ‘therapeutic’ effects, of music, hearing a loved one’s voice or laughter, participating in meaningful conversations with friends and family, hearing birds chirping or waves crashing on the beach, or enjoying one’s favourite shows or sports on TV. Problems with our hearing may lead to feelings of isolation and even depression.
A Silent Epidemic
Hearing Impairment-the most commonly encountered chronic condition, globally, representing a silent epidemic. Over 5% of the world’s population – 360 million people – has disabling hearing loss (328 million adults and 32 million children).
Childhood hearing loss is on the rise amongst children and adolescents. Childhood hearing loss can cause the same kind of emotional stress and isolation as adult hearing loss. Hearing in children is particularly significant, not only because they are learning to speak, communicate, and get cues from the world, but because auditory parts of the brain can cease working without sound impulses.
Deficits in language skills and the average cognitive markers for childhood development are problems that can be worsened in the face of impaired hearing.
Hearing Loss- Misinformation and Misperception
Regrettably, there is a great deal of misinformation and misperception pertaining to hearing loss, often shrugged off by those affected initially as the inability of others to pronounce their words cases are properly or having excessive wax in their ears. In addition there is the fear of associated stigmatization and often denial.
“50% of cases are needlessly hearing impaired!!”
Tanya Hanekom, President of the South African Association of Audiologists states: “Early identification of hearing loss, followed by appropriate diagnosis and intervention in the form of hearing instrument use, or medical or surgical interventions can result in long term cost effective management of hearing loss.”
World Hearing Day: 3 March 2017
The South African Association of Audiologists (SAAA) has planned a number of initiatives on the day which includes outreach and awareness programs. The main event is scheduled at the Grace Bible Church in Soweto, where SAAA in association with various sponsors will aim to test the hearing of at least 1000 pensioners.
In addition to creating awareness, this event will also attempt to break the current World record for the most hearing tests done on a single 8 hour day, which is currently being held by Australian Hearing who tested 712 individuals on one day during 2015. Prior to this the record was held by South Africa for 494 individuals tested.