50% of hearing loss can be prevented

international ear care day

WHO is promoting ear care in a bid to reduce the number of people affected by hearing loss.

International Ear Care Day is celebrated on March 3 every year. The theme for this year’s campaign is ‘ear care can avoid hearing loss’. The aim is to work on an international, regional, and local level to promote ear care and to reduce hearing impairment.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates that disabling hearing loss affects 5.3% of the world’s population, with different age groups affected. It is the most prevalent sensory disability, and is increasing globally, reported WHO. About a quarter of hearing problems start in childhood, and an ageing population is contributing to the increase in cases.

At least half of hearing loss cases can be prevented by healthy ear care practices and primary health care prevention. In children one of the leading causes of hearing loss is chronic ear infections such as chronic otitis. This condition is especially prevalent in southeast Asia but can be easily treated with medicine, or surgical intervention in some cases.

About 80% of all people living with deafness or hearing impairment live in low- to middle-income countries and around 40 million people with disabling hearing loss live in the eastern Mediterranean region. To help improve the number of people living with preventable hearing loss WHO is calling on member states to integrate prevention and management of hearing loss into their primary care systems.

Tips on preventing hearing loss

  • Avoid excessive noise, including listening to loud music.
  • Wear hearing protection such as earplugs and earmuffs.
  • Avoid prolonged exposure to loud noise, noise-induced hearing loss is linked to duration of exposure as well as how loud the sound is.
  • Remove earwax properly, which means don’t use a cotton bud as this can push wax further into the ear, instead you can try a DIY irrigation kit which softens wax before removing it.