World Hearing Day urges action on childhood hearing loss

Post on 3rd March 2016

The WHO World Hearing Day on Wednesday 3 March was this year dedicated to the theme of ‘Childhood hearing loss: act now, here is how!”

The World Health Organisation is calling for action as the majority of causes which lead to hearing loss in children can be prevented through public health measures. Further, those who have hearing loss can benefit greatly from early identification and suitable, timely interventions.

Nearly 32 million children worldwide are affected by moderate to severe hearing loss, and approximately 60 percent of hearing loss in childhood could have been prevented, according to a new WHO report. It also highlights that, if hearing loss is detected early enough and if children receive the care they need, they can reach their full potential.

The message may be a global one, but we can all do our bit.

We can for example be proactive and ask for hearing screening at an early age. The earlier hearing loss is diagnosed and the children affected are provided with hearing aids, the better chances they have of achieving their full potential.

Getting yourself and your child vaccinated is also advised as infections such as measles, mumps, rubella and meningitis can cause hearing loss.

Protect your child from noise where you can, so avoid spending long periods of time in noisy places and provide hearing protection for children in loud environments. Teach your children that loud noise can cause permanent long term damage so that they understand the message from an early age.

Certain medication can also damage hearing so always read the instructions before taking it.

There are many causes of childhood hearing loss. It is estimated that 40 per cent is attributable to genetics; 31 per cent to infections such as measles, mumps, rubella and meningitis; and 17 per cent to complications at birth, including prematurity, low birth weight and neonatal jaundice. In addition, an estimated four per cent results from expectant mothers and newborns unknowingly using medicines that are harmful to hearing.