Hearing Awareness Week 1-7 March
February 28, 2023
Can:Do Hearing Awareness Week 2023
“That Sounds Better” is a national Hearing Awareness Week Campaign rolling out from the team behind Can:Do Hearing as a part of Hearing Awareness Week – 1-7th March 2023. It’s reported that throughout and following Hearing Awareness week each year, persons with hearing difficulties note increased empathy and compassion towards experiences of poor hearing, and increased sensitivity to the needs and aspirations of people with hearing loss, making it a successful awareness initiative each year.
The focus this year is the importance of hearing – encouraging people to consider taking care of the hearing they already have and treasuring our most loved noises. The campaign includes sounds and snippets of ‘favourite sounds’ including the crashing of waves, a heart beating, laughing out loud, vibrant music and background noise we sometimes take for granted including pets, cars, radio and more.
Over 5% of the world’s population require rehabilitation and treatment addressing their hearing loss, equating to over 1.28 million Australians. It is estimated that this number is growing, and disabling hearing is likely to affect around one in every ten people by 2050. ‘Disabling hearing loss’ refers to a loss greater than 35 decibels (dB) in the better hearing ear. Hearing loss is most common in low-to-middle income countries, with prevalence increasing with age beyond 60 years.
Causes of Hearing Loss and Deafness
Hearing loss and deafness are widespread conditions that can significantly impact a person’s quality of life. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), over 466 million people globally have hearing loss, and around 34 million of them are children. The causes of hearing loss and deafness can vary widely and may be the result of a combination of genetic and environmental factors. In this article, we will discuss some of the common causes of hearing loss and deafness.
Some causes of hearing loss in children include the following:
– Genetic factors – Include hereditary and non-hereditary hearing loss
– Intrauterine infections – such as rubella and cytomegalovirus infection
– Birth asphyxia (a lack of oxygen at the time of birth
– Hyperbilirubinemia (severe jaundice in the neonatal period)
– Low-birth weight
– Other perinatal morbidities and their management
Childhood and adolescence
– Chronic ear infections (chronic suppurative otitis media)
– Collection of fluid in the ear (chronic nonsuppurative otitis media)
– Meningitis and other infections
Adulthood and older age
– Chronic diseases
– Age-related sensorineural degeneration
– Sudden sensorineural hearing loss
Factors across the lifespan
– Cerumen impaction (impacted ear wax)
– Trauma to the ear or head
– Loud noise/loud sounds
– Ototoxic medicines
– Work related ototoxic chemicals
– Nutritional deficiencies
– Viral infections and other ear conditions
– Delayed onset or progressive genetic hearing loss
The Impact of Hearing Loss
Hearing loss can have a significant impact on a person’s life, affecting their ability to communicate, socialise, as well as access to education. Ensuring that communication pathways are established between the patient and practitioner when hearing loss or impairment is suspected is paramount to developing effective patient understanding. The use of hearing assistive technology, and services such as frequency modulation and loop systems, alerting devices, telecommunication devices, captioning services and sign language interpretation, can further improve access to communication and education for people with hearing loss. Communication boards, sign language and AUSLAN services, as well as offering modalities such as video and imagery can help break barriers to health education.
Hearing is an essential sense that enables us to communicate, socialise, and connect with others. The work of Can:Do and the impact of Hearing Awareness Week improves hearing, accessibility to healthcare and hearing technology for all.