The World Hearing Day

The World Hearing Day is celebrated on 1st March every year. It seeks to promote global ear and hearing
care and raises awareness of how to prevent hearing loss, deafness and reduce their impacts. The first
global ear and hearing care event was held in 2015. Individuals and organizations participate through
organizing ear and hearing care activities, information dissemination campaigns and sharing various hearing health materials.The World Health Organization (WHO) co-ordinates activities across the globe and summarizes reports from various individuals, groups and organizations on the events held in various parts of the world throughout the world hearing month (March).

To guide and streamline annual activities, the WHO selects a unique theme annually, develops educational materials, trains stakeholders, and shares the materials freely in several languages.In 2024 the World Hearing Day Theme is ‘Changing Mindsets: Let’s make ear and hearing care a reality for all! The aim is to overcome challenges created by societal misconceptions and the mindset that creates stigmatization and impedes health seeking habits and professional interventions. It targets the world at large, including the public and healthcare providers.

According to WHO, over 80% of people with ear and hearing care needs are not receiving it. Some of the contributing factors that contribute to this are misconceptions about ear and hearing care and stigmatizing mindsets that thwart efforts to address hearing loss. This year’s 2024 world hearing month activities seek to reshape public and healthcare provider misconceptions of hearing impairment by providing information that is evidence based. It is hoped that global and societal stigma will be combated for equitable and ready access to good ear and hearing care.

The campaigns for promoting ear and hearing care will run globally, throughout the month of March.As a culmination of the 2024 world hearing month, an EHC workshop will be held at Kenyatta International Conference Centre (KICC) on 21st and 22nd March to bring all stakeholders together. Kenyatta University Teaching, Referral and Research Hospital (KUTRRH) will be actively engaged in the World Hearing Month activities. At KUTRRH the World hearing activities started with a webinar on the various misconceptions and myths within society and among different groups in the world. This was followed up with a staff ear and hearing screening event held at the Hospital. A total of 136 KUTRRH staff were screened and managed for hearing and ear conditions. Some of the misconceptions and mindsets that ought seek to change are :
• Hearing loss is inevitable
• Can’t be prevented
• Age related
• Many causes are preventable –ototoxic medication, noise induced, infections, smoking, diabetes
• Hearing aids and cochlear implants correct hearing to normal
• Most people believe hearing aids are like glasses where vision corrected to 20/20 instantly
• However amplified sounds may require fine tuning for brain hearing
• May require several sessions
• Quality of amplified sounds increase volume and enhance clarity
• However this is dependent on age of intervention, degree of hearing loss, quality of device, listening environment
• Impact – near normal hearing to
sound awareness
• Hearing loss is a curse
• Associated with witchcraft
• Hearing loss has various causes, some maybe congenital or acquired
• Most of the causes are preventable and also manageable
• Talking louder will help understand
• Raising volume is part of the solution
• Clarity is very important – sometimes increasing volume distorts quality of sound (Sensori -Neural
Hearing Loss)
• Assistive listening devices and FM system improves clarity
• Yelling distorts natural speech rhythm and make lip reading difficult
• People with hearing loss are ‘stupid’ mute and unsuccessful
• If hearing loss is untreated and inadequately treated affected persons may provide inappropriate
response when they miss conversation
• Some may speak; others don’t.
• May require some accommodation at work as described by the Disability Act
• There may be delays in transcribing or interpreting but the lag time does not reflect level of intelligence
• Same range of intelligence

Read The Checkup Newsletter JAN 2024

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