The World Health Organization’s Message for World Hearing Day 2018

Reading Time: 5 minutes
"by " HearingLife
03/01/2018

“Hear the future and prepare for it” is the World Health Organization’s (WHO’s) message for World Hearing Day 2018. To that end, HearingLife advises everyone to take care of their hearing health.


On World Hearing Day, March 3rd, 2018, HearingLife hopes to encourage more people to be mindful of their hearing health.1 Based on statistical projections, the World Health Organization (WHO) has revealed that the prevalence of hearing loss is set to increase globally, and this World Hearing Day discusses how preventative measures could help curb the rise. With more than 5% of the global population already affected by disabling hearing loss2, now is the time to raise awareness and address why people do not recognize the signs when they are affected.


Many things can cause hearing loss – both in and out of our control. The most common include:

  • Exposure to excessive noise

  • Genetic causes

  • Complications at birth

  • Certain infectious diseases

  • Chronic ear infections

  • Certain medications

  • Aging2

Approximately 60% of childhood hearing loss is due to preventable causes.2 Although not all hearing loss can be prevented, we can take action to take better care of our ears, such as wearing ear protection when working with loud machinery. More importantly, we can pay more attention to our hearing and seek advice from an expert if we have any concerns.

Hearing loss can be a slow process, so it can be difficult to read the signs of deterioration, and in many cases, is easily ignored. In comparison to loss of sight, hearing loss is not always noticeable. Many people have a vision test annually to maintain eye health. Unfortunately, many people don’t take the same precautions for their ears, because hearing is as important as sight.


One key element to maintaining hearing health is paying attention to the early signs of hearing loss, such as:

  • Having the television or radio consistently at a loud volume

  • Struggling to follow conversations (especially in noisy environments such as restaurants)

  • Asking people to repeat themselves often

  • Withdrawal and isolation to avoid tough listening situations

  • Positioning to point your ears toward sound

  • Not hearing the phone ring, the doorbell or sirens


Our professionals urge you to address the symptoms of hearing loss. We advise you begin with a professional hearing assessment* to eliminate guesswork. Untreated hearing loss can cause serious long-term conditions, especially later in life, so we implore everyone to maintain their hearing care now.

Hearing loss has a number of side effects. Untreated, hearing loss can cause people to withdraw from socializing and lead to feelings of isolation and depression. Several studies have concluded that hearing loss contributes to the early onset of dementia, including the recent study authored by the Lancet Commissions on Dementia Prevention, Intervention, and Care.3 Addressing hearing loss is key to remaining cognitive and socially active.


According to the WHO, approximately one third of people over 65 years of age are affected by disabling hearing loss2 and are potentially at risk of affecting their overall health if untreated. With the number of people aged 65 and above predicted to have doubled in 2050 compared to today4, age-related hearing loss is almost certainly a contributing factor to the increasing prevalence of hearing loss. That’s partially why the WHO’s slogan for 2018 is “Hear the future and prepare for it.” Now is the best time to act.


Just by reading this to educate yourself, you are taking an important step. If you have concerns about your hearing, or have someone in your life who shows signs of hearing loss, make an appointment for a free, no-obligation hearing assessment* so you can learn more about your individual needs. Call (866) 657-6952 for more information.

 


1http://www.who.int/deafness/world-hearing-day/whd-2018/en/

2http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs300/en/

3Livingstone et al, 2017 – Dementia prevention, intervention and care, The Lancet. Volume 390, No. 10113, p2673–2734, 16 December 2017.

4US Census Bureau data estimates; US Census Bureau, An Aging World: 2015