Coffee Talk

Why YOUR hearing matters

Did you know that today is World Hearing Day?

The World Health Organization dedicated today, March 3r, to raise awareness of how to prevent deafness and hearing loss, as well as to promote ear and hearing care across the world.

Why does it matter?

Let’s take a look at the facts:

  • 360 MILLION people globally have disabling hearing loss.
  • 48 Million Americans have significant hearing loss.
  • Unaddressed hearing loss, globally = a cost of $750 billion.
  • 33 million children have disabling hearing loss
  • 3 million children in the US have hearing loss with 1.3 million being under the age of 3.
  • 1 in 3 people 65 or older are affected by disabling hearing loss
  • People with hearing loss can benefit from hearing aids and cochlear implants. In fact, these can have dramatic improvements in the quality of life for people with hearing loss.
  • Sign language and captioning services facilitate communication with hard of hearing and deaf individuals.
  • 60% of childhood hearing loss is preventable through public health actions
  • A mild hearing loss can cause a child to miss as much as 50% of classroom activities
  • Tinnitus (ringing in ears) affects 50 million people in the US. Can you imagine what it’s on a global scale?
  • Leading causes of hearing loss:
    –Noise (occupational, or loud noise) *THIS ONE IS 100% PREVENTABLE!!*
    –Chronic ear infections
    –Toxic medications

*Statistics found on International Communication Project and Center for Hearing and Communication

What does it mean?

It means that you are missing OUT on life especially if you have been hearing your whole life. If you’re sitting at a table, listening to people having conversations, it means that you’re missing out on at least 50% of the conversation. It means that there are sounds out there that you haven’t heard, or aren’t aware of, and may be confused by them. You may even have a delayed reaction to what others have heard before you, and will more often than not, have to take clues from your surroundings about what is going on.

But, it doesn’t mean that you will have a lower quality of life. You just need additional items to have the same quality of life, and you shouldn’t be afraid to wear them if you feel that they do help you. In fact, there are things that you can do to protect your hearing from further deteriorating, although you should understand that it won’t stop you from getting hearing loss entirely. After all, we do lose our hearing naturally as we age, same as we lose eyesight, and taste.

The World Health Organization chose “Check your hearing!” as the theme for the World Hearing Day this year. So this year, have your hearing checked and talk to your doctor about how you can protect your hearing, especially if you are an older adult, work in a noisy place, listen to loud music at high volumes for prolonged period of time, and/or are experiencing ear problems.

Lastly, some tips for speaking to and communicating with Hard of Hearing and Deaf Individuals:

  • Speak clearly and ENUNCIATE your words.
  • Write down what you are trying to say, because it’s much easier for us to follow via a text or a note.
  • Treat us like any other person. 🙂

Happy Listening!

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