Hearing Awareness Week 2024 

Each year from the 1st to the 7th of March, it is Hearing Awareness Week. This yearly occasion is utilised to raise awareness about the effects of hearing loss and how we can prevent hearing loss worldwide. In Australia, 1 in 6 people have a hearing loss. Hearing loss is the reduced ability to hear, and it can range from a mild loss to complete loss of hearing. Poor hearing and ear health can affect individuals in many ways. Hearing loss can affect our ability to listen, learn and talk whilst it can also affect social and emotional wellbeing leading to depression and social isolation. There are 3.5 million people aged over 15 who are living with hearing loss just in Australia.

Hearing awareness began in the 16th century through schools for the Deaf, sign language and the creation of the ‘ear trumpet’ which was a funnel for sound to make sound louder to help those with hearing loss. However, the most significant advancements in hearing technology, hearing loss prevention and treatment have occurred in the last few decades with the development of hearing aids, cochlear implants, and assistive listening technology.

Research has shown that 1 in 3 Australians have a hearing loss due to noise and more than 1.3 million people in Australia have a hearing loss that could have been prevented. This indicates the significant quantity of hearing loss that we need to protect people of all ages against. There are many factors causing hearing loss such as genetics and ageing, however, hearing loss caused by exposure to loud noise is often preventable.

Our hearing is essential for communication, quality of life, health, and social connections. However, studies have suggested that only one in seven people who have a hearing loss are treating their hearing loss through strategies such as hearing aids. If you are ignoring your hearing health or hearing loss, now is the time to take action towards better hearing, better engagement, better connections, and better relationships. This starts with a hearing test.

The centrepiece of Hearing Awareness Week is World Hearing Day on the 3rd of March every year. This day is an important reminder for people worldwide about how they can prevent hearing loss and practice better ear health. This day is the largest global awareness movement for hearing health and hearing loss. This day is used to put hearing care on people’s minds and start the conversation about hearing loss.

Hearing loss is frequently referred to as an “invisible disability”. The World Health Organisation explained that this is partially due to the lack of visible signs and symptoms, but also because hearing loss has been stigmatised in communities and ignored by many policy makers. This year, World Hearing Day will focus on overcoming the challenges caused by the stigma towards hearing loss and the misperceptions of society regarding hearing health.

Hearing losses that are untreated pose an annual global cost of approximately US $1 trillion. This figure is due to the impact of hearing loss when rehabilitation is not accessed, as well as the cost of social exclusion and productivity losses. The World Health Organisation believes that the key factors limiting efforts to address and prevent hearing loss are societal misperceptions and stigma. If we can change mindsets and improve access to hearing care for all, we are able to reduce the cost of untreated hearing loss worldwide.

The greatest way to do this is raise awareness and educate individuals and organisations about hearing loss. Every individual should speak with a hearing care professional to understand what their hearing level is and learn how they can protect their hearing. If you have not had a hearing test in the last 12 months, this is your reminder to book one in and encourage those around you to do the same. Hearing care professionals at clinics such as Hearing Aid Specialists SA, can complete a comprehensive hearing test to understand your level of hearing. These trained hearing care professionals will provide you with information and a greater understanding of how to care for and protect your ears. Start Hearing Awareness Week off the right way and book in for a hearing test today. Call 08 8267 2555 to make an appointment.