Rates of hearing loss are expected to rise dramatically and preventative action is the only way forward!
TORONTO, March 1, 2018 /CNW/ - Hearing loss is the central health discussion on March 3rd during the World Health Organization's (WHO) dedicated awareness day, World Hearing Day. The annual awareness milestone provides an opportunity to elevate key hearing issues facing Canadians and according to the WHO, understanding the threat and how to prevent it is critical. Canada's National Campaign for Better Hearing, which recently expanded into an international program, has become part of the solution to improve the quality of life for those with hearing loss.
The theme for this year's initiative aims to draw attention to the anticipated rise in the number of people expected to experience hearing loss by encouraging everyone to 'hear the future'. In Canada, the numbers affected by hearing loss are likely to rise substantially in coming decades.1 During World Hearing Day the WHO wants to underscore the importance of action and access to experts and hearing services.
"We saw gaps in hearing care, which is why the Campaign for Better Hearing was first created," says Jillian Price, Chief Audiologist for HearingLife. "It has been a rewarding experience to see the campaign grow so quickly, clearly the need was there and we continue to create positive impacts in local communities across the country."
In Canada, 47 per cent of Canadians over the age of 60 have some form of hearing impairment.2 The effects of hearing loss extend far beyond just the ears and can cause emotional and social consequences, including isolation, depression, mobility issues and reduced income and employment.3
"Hearing health is not on the radar for Canadians, especially when it comes to prevention and testing - this really needs to change," says former Mississauga Mayor, Hazel McCallion. "In the same way that vision testing is an integral part of our healthcare protocol as we age, so is hearing. Everyone needs to prioritize their hearing health by speaking with a qualified hearing expert who can assess any loss and provide solutions to resolve it," says McCallion.
The National Campaign for Better Hearing launched four years ago with a simple message, "TEST YOUR EARS AT 60 YEARS." The goal of the campaign is to educate the public about the effects of untreated hearing loss and the importance of making hearing testing part of the annual health regimen for Canadians over the age of 60. For every test conducted by skilled hearing professionals at participating clinics across the country, a donation is made to the campaign's giveback program which provides new hearing aids for those who cannot afford them. Since 2014, the campaign has raised over $700,000 and conducted over 200,000 hearing tests – more than 200 Canadians from coast-to-coast have received new hearing aids from the initiative and the numbers continue to grow.
Price remarks, "we want to prepare for the expected rise in older populations, but we also want to educate younger audiences about the importance of hearing health. Ear buds and headphones are part of our culture and that won't change, but on average, Canadians are listening at volumes that are above three-quarters of the maximum and this will accelerate hearing loss, down the road."
The Campaign for Better Hearing set a 2018 goal to raise $310,000 for new hearing aids, representing 77,500 hearing tests. More than 200 local clinics are participating in the campaign and all have committed to donating $4.00 for every test, in order to provide hearing aids to those who cannot afford them. While the campaign is targeting Canadians ages 60 and over, HearingLife and its National Affiliated Partners will provide a free baseline hearing assessment to any adult, 18 or over – no referrals are required. The free hearing assessment and consultation can be completed in only 60 minutes. Visit CampaignForBetterHearing.ca or call 1-888-904-8742 to schedule your free test.
ABOUT HEARING LIFE
HearingLife and National Affiliated Partners is the largest group of hearing centres with over 200 locations across the country. Their mission is to provide individuals who have hearing loss with the most advanced hearing aid technology, expert clinical support, and the most up-to-date diagnostic equipment. All of their clinics are staffed by highly trained and certified hearing healthcare professionals, ready to provide the counseling and assistance needed to enhance the quality of lives through better hearing.
1 Statistics Canada 2018 - https://www.statcan.gc.ca/pub/82-003-x/2015007/article/14206-eng.htm
3 Statistics Canada 2018 - http://www.statcan.gc.ca/pub/82-625-x/2016001/article/14658-eng.htm