World Hearing Day is held on 3rd March each year. The day and events surrounding it are promoted by the World Health Organization (WHO) to raise awareness on the prevention of hearing loss and promote healthy hearing practices worldwide. This year’s World Hearing Day is focused on the importance of safe listening and hearing loss, with the theme ‘To hear for life, listen with care!’.
At House of Hearing, we know that protecting your ears is key to good hearing health, and so we were delighted to see this year’s World Hearing Day theme. The WHO states that “it is possible to have good hearing across the life course through ear and hearing care” – and we agree! In February we held a virtual event as part of Tinnitus Week where we discussed the causes of tinnitus, the latest tinnitus research, and steps you can take to reduce the risk of tinnitus. Our virtual event featured a talk from ACS (Advanced Communication Solutions) director Jono Heale who discussed the lack of education around tinnitus prevention – an issue that this year’s World Hearing Day seeks to address. In his section of the virtual event, Jono states “Even though I'd been through music education nobody even talked about how the ear works, how it could be damaged, how you could protect yourself. It just wasn't there”.
There are many different types of hearing protection and, overall, they aim to do the same thing: reduce the volume of sound to effectively protect the ear. Hearing protection is most effective in locations where you are exposed to higher noise levels for extended amounts of time, such as concerts, sports games, or if you work in an environment that regularly has a sound level of 85dB. (for context, a standard hairdryer has a noise level of 90dB). There are several apps available that tell you how loud your immediate environment is such as the NIOSH Sound Level Meter. You should start using hearing protection when the sound level exceeds 90 dB or limit your time in this environment to 15 minutes.
It is thought that there are roughly 11 million people in the UK with at least some level of hearing loss and the HSE estimate that roughly 170,000 of these cases are due to noise exposure from work. Maintaining good hearing health is important for keeping people connected to their family, friends and surroundings. Identifying a hearing loss in the earliest stages allows you to begin treatment as soon as possible so you can minimise its impact on your life before it deteriorates further.
It can be difficult to identify hearing loss as it is often a very gradual process, so it is good to be aware of some of the most common signs:
- Frequently turning up the volume of the TV, radio, or stereo
- Difficulty understanding people speaking to you and asking people to repeat themselves
- Sudden inability to hear the doorbell, the dog barking, and other household sounds
- Having people tell you that you speak too loudly
- Feeling like people are mumbling or not speaking clearly.
In addition to looking out for these signs, we would always recommend protecting your ears through safe listening by avoiding prolonged exposure to noises above 70 dB and using hearing protection where appropriate.
At House of Hearing, we offer free, comprehensive hearing tests to help you ensure that you are hearing at your best. As hearing experts for over 50 years, we are experienced in providing specialist audiology and aural care, in addition to our ENT nurse-led wax removal service.
If you would like to make an appointment to talk with one of our audiologists, then give us a call on 0131 220 1220 or click here to complete our online form.