3 March 2023

Listen out for hearing health this World Hearing Day

| Morgan Kenyon
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girl having hearing test

One in six Australians has some hearing loss. Photo: File.

Over four million Australians live with some form of hearing loss.

World Hearing Day – held on 3 March each year – is a chance for Australians to raise awareness for the prevention of deafness and hearing loss and to promote better hearing health practices across the country.

The World Health Organisation’s theme for World Hearing Day 2023 is ‘Ear and Hearing Care for All’.

Led in the ACT by the Canberra Deafness Resource Centre, this World Hearing Day is an opportunity for locals to refresh their knowledge on hearing loss prevention and commit to looking after their ears.

The event will also highlight the World Health Organisation’s recommendation to include hearing health in primary care, given that 60 per cent of cases can be identified and addressed at the primary level.

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Joe Symons leads the communications team at the Canberra Deafness Resource Centre.

The centre provides critical support to those living in the ACT and surrounding regions of NSW who are deaf or hearing impaired and works to educate the public on the importance of hearing health. Joe says World Hearing Day is the centre’s biggest event of the year.

“World Hearing Day is a huge opportunity for us to raise awareness for hearing health on a national level and educate Canberrans about what they can do to prevent hearing loss. It’s become common practice in Australia to wear sunglasses and put on sunscreen to look after your eyes and skin. We want to see people taking care of their hearing health with the same enthusiasm.”

Joe Symons

Joe Symons from the ACT Deafness Resource Centre conducting a hearing information session. Photo: ACT DRC.

Joe says there are many simple yet effective ways to prevent hearing loss.

“I enjoy going to concerts as much as the next person and understand that some people have to wear headphones for work, so noise exposure has become a part of daily life for most of us. However, there are some easy things you can do to reduce the effect it has on your ears,” he says.

“If you’re at a gig, bring some earplugs and avoid standing next to the speakers. When you listen to music or make an important phone call, limit yourself to an hour at a time and take breaks in between. We aren’t saying Canberrans can’t listen at a good volume, but it’s important to be aware that exposure to high levels for hours every day will have a negative effect on your hearing in the long run.”

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Today, one in six Aussies experiences hearing loss or deafness. Though this is less than the global average of one in five, national statistics are expected to jump to one in four by 2050. Since Australia lacks a government-led advisory body for hearing-related issues, running support and education initiatives like World Hearing Day remains up to local organisations like the Canberra Deafness Resource Centre.

“People tend to take their hearing for granted, but something they fail to realise is that you never get your hearing back once it’s gone,” Joe says.

“The prevalence of hearing loss is already quite high. If our current attitude doesn’t change, we expect it to more than double by 2050. It’s up to small charities and resource organisations like us to raise awareness in our local communities now, to help bring these numbers – which are really quite worrying – down to a more manageable level in the future.”

To learn more about how to look after your hearing health, contact ACT Deafness Resource Centre.

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