When you think about hearing care, what comes to mind? If you think of hearing aids, you are not alone. These devices have developed remarkably over the years and they can now do more than ever to enable conversation and to enhance the sounding environment for those with hearing loss. Although these devices are the most well-known aspect of hearing care, they are not alone.
When we talk about hearing care, we are really pointing to the wide range of audiological and other hearing health services that can improve hearing ability for entire populations. These services extend much more broadly than hearing aids, and we have an excellent opportunity to expand knowledge of the range of services, habits, and lifestyle choices that affect hearing: World Hearing Day!
Each year the World Health Organization chooses a theme for this celebration of hearing health on March 3rd. This year’s theme will advocate for “Hearing Care for ALL!” Why not take the opportunity of World Hearing Day to look into new details of hearing aids that you don’t already know, as well as the other hearing-related care practices that can make the world a better place?
Perhaps the best thing that can be done to remedy hearing loss is to prevent it before it even occurs. Anyone who works in a noisy environment or takes part in a loud leisure activity can attest to the toll that noise exposure can take on your hearing and mental wellbeing. Most very loud industrial sites, factories, and mechanical facilities should have regulations related to hearing protection put in place. Not only do these workplaces need to supply hearing protection for their employees and mandate their use, but they are also responsible for providing hearing tests for these employees.
Although many people look toward these loud industrial sites as the worst culprits of hearing damage, some other workplaces fly under the radar with dangerously loud volume levels. Restaurants, bars, and music venues employ many people who are exposed to loud sound day in and day out, and the combination of volume levels and duration can add up to a damaging effect. Expanding access and encouraging use of hearing protection in these places can prevent hearing loss before it ever occurs.
Although wearing earplugs or other protective devices is a helpful way to improve hearing ability at the level of the entire population, hearing loss is on the rise among younger people. Why might this be? One answer might be the increased use of headphones and earbuds. As we have ever-greater access to media, music, and other sound on our smartphones and portable devices, we are also able to spend more and more time with earbuds in our ears. These tools can enhance our lives in so many ways, but they also make it possible to turn up the volume to a damaging level for a long period of time. Education is necessary for more people to understand how damaging this sound can be, and World Hearing Day is an excellent opportunity to consider how you can share the news of this risk. Whether changing your own lifestyle habits or encouraging your young family members to do so, you can take steps to improve hearing health before it goes bad.
Access to Testing
In addition to these protective steps, you can also take action on World Hearing Day to promote better diagnosis of hearing loss. Those who are unsure if they have hearing loss can’t go wrong with a test. By making an appointment with our team of hearing health professionals for a thorough diagnosis of hearing loss, you can get a complete understanding of your abilities and possible needs.
Some people have avoided or denied changes in their hearing abilities, so your participation in World Hearing Day might be as simple as having a conversation with your loved one who is hesitant about getting a test. Promoting better hearing health does include greater access to hearing aids, but it also involves these preliminary steps to make it possible to prevent hearing loss before it starts. If you are looking for ways to get involved, consider one of these ways to participate on World Hearing Day!