Celebrating Hearing Awareness Week & World Hearing Day: Understanding the Impact of Hearing Loss and Accessing Support

world hearing day 3 march 2023

Hearing is a vital sense that allows us to connect with the world around us. Many of us take it for granted until we find ourselves experiencing some level of our own hearing impairment, and so it’s important to raise awareness of the many conditions that can lead to hearing loss and the affect that it can have on people with disabilities and their families. That’s why every year employers, communities and institutions should all observe Hearing Awareness Week. This year it’s running from the 1st to the 7th of March with World Hearing Day falling on 3 March.

Hearing Awareness Week is an important part of the ongoing effort by the Australian Government and its NGOs to address the issues that people with hearing loss face. Over 3.5 million Australians aged 15 and over have mild to severe hearing issues. This represents around 22% of the population, so this is an issue that affects a significant number of us. In fact, one in six Australians has a hearing problem that is severe enough to be considered a disability. The holiday therefore aims to spread awareness about the positive impact of looking after our hearing health, which contributes to our quality of life, social engagements, careers, confidence, and community participation.

What is Hearing Awareness Week’s agenda for 2023?

There are three key focusses for this year’s Hearing Awareness Week:

1. Improve The Workspace

Given the high number of Australians living with hearing loss, employers should observe this awareness holiday by providing adequate equipment and support for affected employees to do their job effectively. When hosting meetings, help those with hearing loss to sit in a way that provides them with clear sound and an unobstructed view of the speaker’s lips. Where possible, try to provide audio relay systems or induction loops in your work premises where assistance may be required for those with hearing aids.

2. Reduce Noise

Noise-induced hearing loss is especially common in the workplace. Noise creates stress and can be a safety hazard at work, making warning and alarm systems harder to hear. It’s difficult to assess noise levels as our brains have evolved to block out constant sound, meaning the damage may be being done to our ears without us really noticing. Reducing noise levels at the source is an effective way to protect the hearing of those who work in loud environments like construction sites. Of course, some work environments are inherently noisey and there may be nothing that can be done about that, in which case it’s important to be diligent in mandating workers use ear protection that is provided by the employer.

3. Spread Awareness

Sensitising people to the ways to better prepare the workplace for people with hearing loss is another way to observe Hearing Awareness Week. Hearing loss can very easily fly under the radar as it can be a slowly creeping impairment which means there is often a limited understanding of it and how it can affect people’s lives. Accessing support services can be difficult, so early interventions through awareness is key to tackling this problem. As the population ages, it’s predicted that there will be 9 million people affected by hearing loss by 2050, so it’s vital that we do everything we can to mitigate the challenges this will present. Follow discussions around the holiday by using the hashtag #HearingAwarenessWeek.

World Hearing Day 2023

This year it aims to highlight the importance of integrating ear and hearing care within primary care, as an essential component of universal health coverage. Its key messages this year include:

  • Ear and hearing problems are among the most common problems encountered in the community.
  • Over 60% of these can be identified and addressed at the primary level of care.
  • Integration of ear and hearing care into primary care services is possible through training and capacity building at this level.
  • Such integration will benefit people and help countries move towards the goal of universal health coverage.

On this day, the World Health Organisation will launch a new training manual for primary ear and hearing care. The manual will be accompanied with a trainer’s handbook and other community resources.

Hearing Support Services

One of the key outcomes of Hearing Awareness Week is to educate people on the importance of support services for those with severe hearing loss. As an NDIS approved services provider, St Judes plays an important role in support coordination for people who require hearing aid technology and other assistive devices. We understand just how important communication is, particularly for those with disabilities, so we strive to offer the highest quality disability support services for those who need them.

That’s why if you are in need of high quality hearing services then please do get in touch with us so we can help you get back to doing the things you enjoy and being around the people you love.