World Hearing Day 2017
Did you know that 3rd March was World Hearing Day? In 2017 the World Health Organisation (WHO) focussed on raising awareness of the economic impact of unaddressed hearing loss. WHO estimate that unaddressed hearing loss costs the international economy $750 billion annually (which is the same as the combined annual health expenditure of Brazil and China, or the annual GDP of the Netherlands).
On an individual basis, it has been found that Europeans with significant hearing loss are twice as likely to be unemployed those without hearing loss. In the US, people with untreated hearing loss earn 50-70% less.
Action to protect against hearing loss is cost-effective however. You can prevent hearing loss by protecting against loud sounds and identifying and treating otitis media (ear infections). Hearing loss can be identified early through screening of newborns, school children and adults over 50. Hearing can be rehabilitated via the continuous use of hearing aids. Access to cochlear implants, an Australian invention, is also improving globally. In addition to this, captioning and sign language interpretation are effective in making information accessible to those who are deaf or hard of hearing.
Interventions to address hearing loss result in:
- Financial savings and significant return on investment
- Increased access to education
- Greater employability and earnings which benefits the economy
- Lower costs related to depression and cognitive decline
- An integrated society
Please see your GP if you are concerned about your hearing, or that of your family.
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