Hearing Awareness Week
Hearing loss affects around one in six Australians.
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Along with old age, other causes of hearing loss include accidents and exposure to excessively loud noise. While workplace noise was sighted as the main cause in the past, the focus has now shifted to the personal listening devices worn by young people, which have the potential to cause permanent hearing damage if the noise is excessive and prolonged.
Besides costing our health and wellbeing, hearing loss is estimated to cost the nation billions of dollars every year in lost productivity. Hearing Awareness Week is an initiative of the Deafness Forum of Australia to raise awareness of this often underrated and under-reported condition.
Hearing Awareness Week kicks coincides with World Hearing Day, which takes place on 3 March of every year.
What role does The Deafness Forum of Australia play?
The Deafness Forum of Australia is the peak national body representing the interests of the deaf, deafblind and those with hearing loss or chronic ear or balance disorders. It advises the Australian Government's hearing authority, Australian Hearing, on public policy matters. Its members include the hearing impaired and their families and those individuals and associations that provide services promoting hearing health and wellbeing.
What happens during Hearing Awareness Week?
In 2019, the big theme for World Hearing Day was Check Your Hearing! The Deafness Forum of Australia and Australian Health gave it an Aussie spin, with a campaign called The Big Aussie Hearing Check and a call to all Australians to "take the challenge."
Every year, the Deafness Forum calls on interested parties to organize their own events around the country. The universities, schools, private companies, and not-for-profits who get involved every year are in charge of their own events and scheduling although the Deafness Forum of Australia provides support in the form of messaging and planning guidelines. For example, in 2019 Macquarie University held free hearing checks all week.
Other activities may include conferences, seminars, information displays and free hearing tests conducted around the country.
If you want to find out what's going on in your area or to organise an event of your own during Hearing Awareness Week, you can contact:
- Australian Hearing. 1300 412 512
- Deafness Forum of Australia. firstname.lastname@example.org
How else can you get involved?
Besides showing up to your local event during Hearing Awareness week, the most important thing you can do is to focus on your own hearing and that of your friends and family. If you or any of your family are having difficulty hearing, you should arrange a hearing test as soon as possible no matter how gradual the decline.
According to research, it takes people an average of seven years from the time they start thinking they might have a hearing problem to actually seek treatment, so the time to act is sooner rather than later.
We are also encouraged to examine the listening habits of our children during Hearing Awareness Week, with the golden rule being that if they are wearing earbuds and you can hear their music, then it’s too loud and is damaging their ears.
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