by Daniel Fink, MD, Chair, The Quiet Coalition
World Hearing Day, sponsored by the World Health Organization, is rapidly approaching. Each year WHO chooses a theme for World Hearing Day. This year’s theme is “Ear and hearing care for all! Let’s make it a reality.”
That’s a laudable goal, and it’s one WHO is working towards. In developing nations, hearing health professionals are few and far between, and even simple things like vaccinations and immunizations that can prevent diseases like measles or meningitis which may cause hearing loss, treatment of ear infections, and certainly provision of hearing aids are hard to come by. In industrialized nations, adequate hearing health care is still not available to all.
My hearing health goal is prevention of noise-induced hearing loss. As two authors from the CDC recently wrote, an ounce of prevention is still worth a pound of cure. That’s certainly true when it comes to preventing noise-induced hearing loss. The only treatment for hearing loss of any type is amplification, and that doesn’t restore normal hearing.
Recent research seems to confirm the thought that treatment of hearing loss with hearing aids prevents or delays the onset of dementia, so if one already has hearing loss, it should be treated.
But to prevent noise-induced hearing loss, simply remember this: If something sounds loud, it’s too loud. Turn down the volume, insert your earplugs, or leave the noisy environment, because your auditory health is at risk.