WORLD HEARING DAY: 3 MARCH 2016
World Hearing Day is an annual event held on 3 March to raise awareness and promote ear and hearing care across the world.
In 2012, the World Health Organisation (WHO) released new estimates on the magnitude of disabling hearing loss on the world stage. These estimates were based on studies held in 42 countries around the world.
- There are 360 million persons in the world with disabling hearing loss (5.3% of the world’s population).
- 328 million (91%) of these are adults (183 million males, 145 million females).
- 32 million (9%) of these are children.
- The prevalence of disabling hearing loss in children is greatest in South Asia, Asia Pacific and Sub-Saharan Africa.
- Approximately one-third of persons over 65 years are affected by disabling hearing loss.
- The prevalence of disabling hearing loss in adults over 65 years is highest in South Asia, Asia Pacific and Sub-Saharan Africa.
Tanya Hanekom, President of the South African Association of (SAAA) states, “Of significance is that half of all cases of deafness and hearing impairment are avoidable through primary prevention. Healthy ear and hearing care practices can suitably deal with early detection of hearing loss, followed by appropriate diagnosis and subsequent medical, rehabilitative or surgical interventions”. In general, 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 properly or having excessive wax in their ears. In addition there is the fear of associated stigmatization and often denial.
Tanya continues, “Nobody can ‘see’ hearing loss by looking into your ear with an otoscope . . . your hearing has to be tested by an Audiologist with the suitable equipment! That is why loud noise, diabetes, kidney failure, ear infections and many other conditions can cause hearing loss that goes undetected for many years, silently interfering with your quality of life without you even realizing it!”
The theme for World Hearing Day 2016 is ‘Childhood hearing loss: act now, here is how!’ The theme is designed to draw attention to the fact that the majority of causes which lead to hearing loss in children can be prevented through public health measures.
Furthermore, those who have hearing loss can benefit greatly from early identification and suitable, timely interventions. World Hearing Day aims to raise awareness about strategies to reduce the prevalence and impact of hearing loss.
Article courtesy of Tanya Hanekom