It may seem like March is a void of holidays. Some people celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, and others take caution on the Ides of March, but most people can’t find much reason to celebrate. Depending where you live, the month may have treacherous weather, and many feel like winter will never end. Although the month can feel like it is dragging on, the World Health Organization has introduced a new holiday into the mix of emotions that many of us experience each March: World Hearing Day.
March 3rd has been set aside to commemorate the need for hearing health, but many people do not understand all that can entail. Sure, most of us know that it is a good idea to wear earplugs in an extremely loud environment, but what else might be affecting our hearing health? The World Health Organization has done an excellent job providing materials regarding the need for hearing health practices, and the following are some of the highlights of the research they have promoted in honor of World Hearing Day.
Hearing Loss, Deafness, and Public Health
With 466 million people suffering from debilitating hearing loss around the world, the World Health Organization has estimated that the number may rise to 900 million by the year 2050. A devastating 34 million of those who currently have hearing loss are children, and people everywhere are seeking solutions to the experience of hearing loss and deafness. A full 60% of childhood hearing loss is due to preventable causes, including diseases that could be eradicated with better health care and eliminating exposure to toxins that cause hearing loss. Birth complications are yet another cause of hearing loss, and improvements to obstetric and maternal health care could make a big difference in the number of children born with hearing loss or total deafness. With such staggering numbers, you may wonder what can be done to reduce or eliminate hearing loss.
Hearing Loss Prevention
Though it may go without saying that wearing ear plugs or noise cancelling ear muffs in very loud environments can prevent hearing loss, there is a lot more that you can do to reduce the risk. Exposure to chemicals and medications that cause hearing loss, also called ototoxic substances, are a serious risk, especially for the sensitive ears of growing children. Infections such as mumps, measles, rubella, meningitis, cytomegalovirus infections, and chronic otitis media are responsible for a large percentage of childhood hearing loss, and many of these conditions are preventable.
Adequate funding is necessary to make sure that children receive the vaccines they need and have access to clinics and treatment centers when these conditions arise. Those who incur hearing loss before or soon after birth can benefit from a number of policy changes that would affect maternal health practices. Cytomegalovirus infections in expectant mothers can cause hearing loss in the child, and these infections can be prevented through good hygiene. Proper screening for and treatment of syphilis and other infections in pregnant women can prevent hearing loss in children, as well. In general, maternal health programs can do wonders for early childhood health, including hearing health.
Getting a Hearing Test
One of the things you can do to take part in World Hearing Day, no matter where you are, is to get a hearing test. Even if you don’t think you have hearing loss, a hearing test will set the baseline for your personal hearing profile, and a hearing healthcare provider will be able to use that knowledge in the future to identify ways that your hearing has changed or been compromised.
In addition, you may have hearing loss that you don’t even know about, and hearing tests are the only way to get precise information about your ability to hear at different volumes and frequencies of sound.
With these many reasons to get a hearing test, why not schedule one today? World Hearing Day on March 3rd is a great opportunity to take care of your hearing health with a very simple, quick, and painless examination. You won’t regret the knowledge you receive from this test, and it may point you toward early solutions for your hearing health! Contact us at Hearing Consultants today to schedule a hearing test and consultation.