When is World hearing day?
World hearing day is a campaign held every year on the 3rd of March, by the World Health Organisation (WHO) to raise awareness on the prevention of deafness and hearing loss along with promoting ear and hearing care.
What is the theme for World Hearing Day in 2020
The theme for 2020 is “Hearing for Life. Don’t let hearing loss limit you”. This year WHO will highlight that timely and effective interventions can ensure that people with hearing loss are able to achieve their full potential.
Hearing Loss in the UK
According to the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), hearing loss affects about 9 million people in the UK. It is estimated that 1 in 6 people in the UK suffer from some level of hearing loss or are deaf.
More than 40% of people over the age of 50 have hearing loss and this percentage rises to 71% for people over the age of 70.
Each year, around 840 babies are born with a significant hearing impairment and 1 in every 1,000 children are deaf by the time they are 3 years old.
It is estimated that by 2031, 14.5 million people in the UK — approximately 20% of the population, will have a hearing loss.
Impact of Hearing Loss
- Hearing loss not only affects your physical well being but also has a huge impact on the overall mental health. Studies have associated hearing loss with isolation, depression and even dementia.
- Hearing loss is often found to occur together with impaired vision in older age groups and it is estimated that around 12% of adults in England aged over 55 have severe hearing loss, blindness or both.
- Hearing loss is said to increase the risk of accidental injuries.
- It is estimated that by 2032, there will be around 620,000 older people in care homes in the UK, of which nearly 500,000 will have hearing loss.
- For children with permanent hearing impairment, the impact on their psychological development, communication, literacy and educational achievement is huge, where there is a high chance of developing mental health problems.
How to prevent hearing loss from limiting you
Look out for signs and symptoms of hearing loss
It is not always easy to recognise if you are losing your sense of hearing. Look out for common signs such as:
- difficulty in hearing other people clearly in noisy places or when they are sat close to you
- asking other people to repeat what they said because you didn’t hear it
- having to turn up the volume to listen to music or tv
- having to concentrate extra hard on what people are saying to be able to hear better
- muffled hearing
- ringing in the ears
- Difficulty in telling background sounds apart
If you experience any of these symptoms, it is imperative that you immediately get in touch with your GP or hospital.
Preventing hearing loss
Though you can’t always stop hearing loss, taking the appropriate preventive measures can help protect your hearing and prevent damaging your hearing.
- Keep sound levels on your headphones to a level where you can hear the music but also sound from outside. Do not drown out all outside noises with the sound from headphones.
- Try to keep television and music sounds to a medium level.
- Try to keep away from noises that are too loud. Ideally, a normal sound level is below 85 dB.
- Wear ear protection gear or get in touch with your Manager/HR team for protection gear, if you work in an environment where you are exposed to loud noises every day. Employers are obliged by law to ensure safe environments for employees to prevent induced hearing loss. Read more on this here.
- Wear ear protection and keep away from loudspeakers at events or music festivals
- Do not insert objects like cotton buds, wool, tissues or fingers into your or your child’s ears.
If you suspect hearing loss, you must immediately get in touch with your healthcare professional or hospital to get in checked right away. You can also get support from various online sources such as NHS.