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Do you ever find yourself looking for a reason to celebrate? Maybe your celebration comes in the form of ordering a special delivery meal on a Friday evening after a long week of work. Perhaps you are the type to indulge in shopping for a luxury item after you get a promotion at work. Celebrations of major life events can take all forms, but sometimes it doesn’t seem like they come often enough.
If you are looking for a great reason to celebrate this month, World Hearing Day is just that opportunity! Each year the World Health Organization sets aside March 3rd as a day to learn more about hearing health and to promote a specific theme for the year. This year’s theme is “Hearing Care for ALL!” With such a celebratory rallying cry, we can enjoy this day as a prompt for action and a fresh way to think about our world, our communities, and ourselves.
What is Hearing Care?
When you think about your own participation in World Health Day this year, you might wonder what exactly is hearing care? Although accessing hearing aids is the most common form of hearing care, there are many more facets to consider. Hearing care begins long before hearing loss occurs.
In the first place, we can develop healthy hearing habits in our daily lives. One of the greatest threats to hearing health these days is the overuse of headphones and earbuds. These devices can be played at dangerous levels for long periods of time, and many attribute this lifestyle habit to increased rates of hearing loss among young people. In addition to this approach to hearing care, direct protection is another consideration. Whether it means wearing disposable earplugs in situations that put hearing at risk or mandating more advanced forms of hearing protection, such as noise-canceling earmuffs, protection is the best way to prevent hearing loss before it occurs.
The other side of hearing care is diagnosis and treatment for those who have already experienced loss. Millions of Americans let hearing loss go untreated, and the World Health Organization takes to task these individuals, communities, and governments. Whether due to lack of knowledge, psychological resistance, or simply placing hearing health as a low priority, hearing care steps in and offers assistance to those who have loss, as well.
Who Needs Hearing Care?
As you can see, the expanded definition of hearing care means that many more people need access than only those with untreated hearing loss. Through prevention, education, and expanded resources for treatment, the population of people in need of hearing care spans throughout society. Although everyone can use a better understanding of hearing health care needs, some populations are particularly at risk. In the first place, some people do not have access to hearing care due to geographic or resource barriers. Whether they live in remote areas or do not have the necessary capital to get the care they need, many more people can benefit from hearing care than can currently access those services.
The World Health Organization is advocating for governments and policymakers to provide free and reduced-cost services for people around the globe to get to a hearing health professional for diagnosis and dispensing of hearing aids, when necessary.
How Can You Get Involved?
When it comes to World Hearing Day, you can celebrate through action! Getting involved can happen on a number of levels. If you are interested in advocating for increased access to hearing care, you can create a conversation with a policymaker or government official to see how resources can be better allocated toward those in need.
If you want to serve your community directly, you might want to assist or lead an event for hearing testing and diagnosis with an organization in your part of the world. Perhaps the most direct form of celebration is to consider your own hearing needs and those of people closest to you. If you know someone with untreated hearing loss, playing your part in World Hearing Day might be as simple as having a conversation to see how you can help build a bridge to a hearing health professional’s services!
And finally, what better way to celebrate World Hearing Day than to schedule a hearing test? An annual hearing test is important to include in your health checks. Contact us today to schedule an appointment!