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The World Health Organization has been tasked with public health initiatives around the globe. They tackle such devastating conditions as the HIV/AIDS epidemic, malnutrition, and malaria. Among these many health concerns, this organization decided to raise awareness about an under-recognized health issue that affects many millions of people around the world: hearing loss.
Ranging from the slight inability to hear in certain environments to total deafness, these conditions affect at least 466 million people across the globe, and many of these do not have any form of assistance or treatment. With an additional one billion young people at risk of hearing loss due to loud recreational sound, including live music and the use of headphones or earbuds, the world needs to know how to protect hearing, how to prevent future loss, and what to do if hearing has already been compromised.
In light of these many concerns, the World Health Organization set aside March 3rd as World Hearing Day, raising awareness of these issues while also encouraging everyone to get a hearing exam as soon as possible.
Protecting Your Hearing
An important component of the awareness-raising campaign of World Hearing Day is to encourage the use of hearing protection. Earplugs and noise cancelling ear muffs are crucial safety measures in loud environments, and many people around the world are exposed to extreme noise every day. One of the particular locations targeted by the World Health Organization is the workplace. Though some countries have standards for hearing protection in place, those regulations may or may not be followed. Furthermore, many countries do not have a federal policy mandating the use of hearing protection in the workplace. Industrial noise can be some of the most damaging, and a person at work may not be given the chance to relieve the ears of this burden. Wearing earplugs or noise cancelling ear muffs are important aspects of hearing protection.
Preventing Hearing Loss
In addition to these directly protective measures, recreational noise has become a major problem, particularly among young people. Around the world, technology has changed such that we expose ourselves to music, speech, and other audio through earbuds and headphones while traveling from one place to the next. Often that sound is in competition with noisy transportation environments, such as airplanes, trains, and even the road noise in cars. These two types of sound compound with one another, creating a damaging effect on the eardrums. In order to prevent this type of hearing loss, the World Health Organization has launched an awareness-raising campaign about the damaging effect of recreational noise on our youth.
Hearing Assistance and Treatment
Unfortunately, some have already suffered hearing loss due to these causes or simply the accumulation of loud sounds over the course of life. Those who have existing hearing loss should not despair. Assistance and treatment are available, and they may be more affordable than you think. The World Health Organization advocates for each individual to get a hearing test. These tests function in at least two ways.
First, a hearing test sets the baseline for a person’s hearing ability, against which future tests can track changing hearing abilities. Second, hearing tests may identify unknown hearing loss. Many people are making do with hearing that has already been compromised, and they may not even know they are doing so. A hearing test is an important step along the road to getting the assistance you need.
Once you have taken a hearing test, our team at Hearing Health will be able to instruct you in the options available for your particular condition and level of hearing need. Hearing aids have made great strides, and new innovations are being developed every day to solve problems like inability to distinguish speech, trouble hearing in a noisy environment, and isolating sounds from one another.
With these many developments in hearing assistance, why not follow the World Health Organization recommendation and schedule a hearing test today. You just might find out that you have hearing loss that has been making life harder than it needs to be. Even if you have perfect hearing, the test will point you in the direction of future assistance if it becomes necessary.