One of our key senses is in focus on Tuesday, March 3. World Hearing Day raises awareness of the ways we can help prevent deafness and hearing loss while also promoting ear care across the world. In Australia, it also marks the beginning of Hearing Awareness Week.
Each year in Australia, hearing loss costs $15 billion in health care and lost productivity. In fact, hearing loss affects 70 per cent of people aged over 70. It has a vast impact on quality of life and is more common than cancer, heart disease and diabetes – with 500,000 hearing aids bought in Australia each year.
The World Health Organisation has declared that this year World Hearing Day will highlight the importance of timely and efficient intervention to ensure that people with hearing loss are still able to reach their potential. WHO will endeavour to draw attention to the options available in order to achieve this, calling for more resources to be made available through our health systems and ensuring that those with hearing loss receive the help they need to improve their access to education and employment.
Unfortunately, many people throughout the world lack access to hearing aids and other methods to improve communication. WHO stresses that communication and good hearing are vital to help people of all ages connect with one another and their communities.
The theme for World Hearing Day 2020 is ‘Hearing for life – don’t let hearing loss limit you’, so we encourage you to visit the Hearing Awareness Week website and check out a free app called Sound Scouts. This can be used to check the hearing of children aged 4 years and older and is also suitable for adults. Visit www.soundscouts.com/au to download the app.