Early detection and intervention of hearing loss are crucial to minimizing the impact of hearing loss on a person's development and educational achievements. People with hearing loss can benefit from the use of hearing devices, such as hearing aids, cochlear implants, and other assistive devices. They may also benefit from speech therapy, aural rehabilitation and other related services. However, global production of hearing aids meets less than 10% of global need and less than 3% of developing countries’ needs. The lack of availability of services for fitting and maintaining these devices, and the lack of batteries are also barriers in many low-income settings, making this an equity issue.
People who develop hearing loss can learn to communicate through development of lip-reading skills, use of written or printed text, and sign language. LWTech offers American Sign Language classes throughout the academic year. Class descriptions for ASL& 121 American Sign Language I and ASL& 122 American Sign Language II are available in the college catalog. Using the key word search box, enter ASL.
The World Health Organization suggests that officially recognizing national sign languages and increasing the availability of sign language interpreters are important actions to improve access to sign language services. Encouraging organizations of people with hearing loss, parents and family support groups; and strengthening human rights legislation can also help ensure better inclusion for people with hearing loss
World Hearing Day is March 3, 2021. The World Health Organization organizes this day for the international community to learn about the importance of hearing for all ages, how to prevent hearing loss, and the social and economic impacts of hearing loss. Because good hearing and communication skills are important at all stages of life, these are things everyone can do to prevent hearing loss.
Acquired causes may lead to hearing loss at any age, such as:
A main impact of hearing loss is on an individual’s ability to communicate with other people, this is known as functional impact. The social and emotional impacts include exclusion from communication, and that can have a significant impact on everyday life, causing feelings of loneliness, isolation, and frustration, particularly among older people with hearing loss. The economic impact is also impactful. The WHO estimates that unaddressed hearing loss poses an annual global cost of US$ 750 billion. This includes health sector costs (excluding the cost of hearing devices), costs of educational support, loss of productivity, and societal costs. Adults with hearing loss also have a much higher unemployment or underemployment. This suggests that hearing loss has a substantial socioeconomic implications on the workforce. Among those who are employed, a higher percentage of people with hearing loss are in the lower grades of employment compared with the general workforce. Improving access to education and vocational rehabilitation services, and raising awareness especially among employers about the needs of people with hearing loss, will decrease unemployment rates for people with hearing loss.
Overall, it is suggested that half of all cases of hearing loss can be prevented through public health measures. For a family, preventative measures might include ideas like the following:
For the workplace, an employee can find out if the noise in a workspace is hazardous. Some suggestions include understanding how much noise is in a workplace. For example, if you must raise your voice to speak with someone at arm’s length, then the noise is likely at a hazardous level. Employees can ask the safety manager or direct supervisor to check the noise levels in your workplace, making sure they are below 85dBA.
Further prevention includes reduce your noise exposure:
There are apps available for personal use to learn about hearing levels. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggests the NIOSH Sound Level Meter App. The app was developed to help workers make informed decisions about their noise environment and promote better hearing health and prevention efforts.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2020). Noise and hearing loss prevention.
Emmett, S. D., & Francis, H. W. (2015). The socioeconomic impact of hearing loss in U.S. adults. Otology & neurotology : official publication of the American Otological Society, American Neurotology Society [and] European Academy of Otology and Neurotology, 36(3), 545–550. Link to article.
World Health Organization. (1, March, 2020). Deafness and hearing loss.
How to Improve Your Hearing. Hearing problems sneak on us when we get older and make our life much harder. Fortunately, there are certain things you can do and tips you can follow to stay healthy and keep your ears young and strong.
This video shares information about three types of hearing loss sensorineural, conductive, and mixed.
Dr. Amol Joshi talks about noise induced hearing loss and how it can be dangerous. It can cause permanent damage our our hearing. Don't take it lightly. See an ENT specialist as soon as possible.
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