On World Hearing Day WHO Urges Canadians to Listen to the Future

The World Health Organization (WHO) is encouraging Canadians to prioritize their hearing health as part of its global initiative to mark World Hearing Day.

World Hearing Day

The annual World Hearing Day event, celebrated on March 3, aims to raise awareness and promote action on hearing loss prevention and management. This year’s theme, “Hearing care for ALL!,” emphasizes the importance of universal access to hearing care services and technologies. According to the WHO, over 5 million Canadians are living with hearing loss, and this number is expected to increase to 10 million by 2030.

Prevalence of Hearing Loss in Canada

In Canada, hearing loss is a growing concern, with an estimated 20% of adults over the age of 19 and 30% of seniors over the age of 65 experiencing some degree of hearing loss. The impact of hearing loss can be profound, affecting an individual’s ability to communicate effectively and engage in social activities, leading to isolation, depression, and even cognitive decline.

Impact on Overall Health and Well-being

To address this issue, the WHO is calling on Canadian policymakers, health professionals, and the public to prioritize hearing health and ensure that everyone has access to affordable, high-quality hearing care. This includes prevention efforts, such as raising awareness about the risks of exposure to loud noise and promoting healthy hearing habits, as well as early detection and intervention.

Global Hearing Health Strategy

One key aspect of the WHO’s initiative is the development of a global hearing health strategy, which aims to promote the integration of hearing care into primary health care and improve access to hearing care services and technologies. The strategy also emphasizes the importance of addressing hearing loss as part of a broader public health agenda, recognizing the impact of hearing loss on overall health and well-being.

World Hearing Day. Image by kalhh from Pixabay
World Hearing Day. Image by kalhh from Pixabay

Partnership Building

In addition to the global strategy, the WHO is also promoting the use of innovative technologies and approaches to improve hearing care, such as tele-audiology and community-based screening programs. The organization is also working to build partnerships with governments, industry, and civil society to promote hearing health and reduce the burden of hearing loss worldwide.

Access To Services

Overall, the WHO’s efforts to promote hearing health and raise awareness about the impact of hearing loss are critical to addressing this growing public health issue in Canada and around the world. By prioritizing hearing care and ensuring that everyone has access to the services and support they need, we can help individuals with hearing loss lead healthy, active, and engaged lives.

Jillian Price, Chief Audiologist for HearingLife said “We saw gaps in hearing care, which is why the Campaign for Better Hearing was first created. It has been a rewarding experience to see the campaign grow so quickly, clearly the need was there and we continue to create positive impacts in local communities across the country.”

Former Mississauga Mayor, Hazel McCallion noted that “Hearing health is not on the radar for Canadians, especially when it comes to prevention and testing – this really needs to change. In the same way that vision testing is an integral part of our healthcare protocol as we age, so is hearing. Everyone needs to prioritize their hearing health by speaking with a qualified hearing expert who can assess any loss and provide solutions to resolve it.”

The National Campaign for Better Hearing launched four years ago with a simple message, “TEST YOUR EARS AT 60 YEARS.” The campaign goal is to educate the public about the effects of untreated hearing loss and the importance of making hearing testing part of the annual health regimen for Canadians over the age of 60. For every test conducted by skilled hearing professionals at participating clinics across the country, a donation is made to the campaign’s giveback program which provides new hearing aids for those who cannot afford them.

This campaign began in 2014, and since then, it has raised over $700,000, conducted more than 200,000 hearing tests, and more than 200 Canadians received new hearing aids from the initiative.

Chief audiologist, Jillian Price remarked, “we want to prepare for the expected rise in older populations, but we also want to educate younger audiences about the importance of hearing health. Ear buds and headphones are part of our culture and that won’t change, but on average, Canadians are listening at volumes that are above three-quarters of the maximum and this will accelerate hearing loss, down the road.”

The Campaign for Better Hearing set a 2018 goal to raise $310,000 for new hearing aids, representing 77,500 hearing tests. More than 200 local clinics are participating in the campaign and all have committed to donating $4.00 for every test, in order to provide hearing aids to those who cannot afford them. While the campaign is targeting Canadians ages 60 and over, HearingLife and its National Affiliated Partners will provide a free baseline hearing assessment to any adult, 18 or over – no referrals are required.

Conclusion

As the WHO urges Canadians to prioritize their hearing health on World Hearing Day, it’s clear that hearing loss is a growing public health concern in Canada and around the world.

With millions of Canadians currently living with hearing loss and millions more at risk, it’s essential to raise awareness, promote prevention efforts, and ensure access to affordable, high-quality hearing care services and technologies.

The WHO’s global initiative highlights the importance of addressing hearing loss as part of a broader public health agenda, recognizing the impact of hearing loss on overall health and well-being.

By working together to promote hearing health and reduce the burden of hearing loss, we can help individuals with hearing loss lead healthy, active, and engaged lives, and build a healthier, more inclusive society for all. Read more about HearingLife and World Hearing Day.

Alan Gray
Alan Gray is the Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of NewsBlaze Daily News and other online newspapers. He prefers to edit, rather than write, but sometimes an issue rears it's head and makes him start hammering away on the keyboard.

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Alan is also a techie. His father was a British soldier in the 4th Indian Division in WWII, with Sikhs and Gurkhas. He was a sergeant in signals and after that, he was a printer who typeset magazines and books on his linotype machine. Those skills were passed on to Alan and his brothers, who all worked for Telecom Australia, on more advanced signals (communications). After studying electronics, communications, and computing at college, and building and repairing all kinds of electronics, Alan switched to programming and team building and management.He has a fascination with shooting video footage and video editing, so watch out if he points his Canon 7d in your direction.