WHO Raises Awareness on World Hearing Day 2022
World Hearing Day, an initiative of the World Health Organization (WHO) to address ear illnesses and hearing loss, is observed on Mar.3, 2022 to promote safe hearing to maintain hearing throughout life. According to the Ministry of Health, 2.3 million Mexicans suffer auditive disabilities and the number is rising due to COVID-19 consequences.
WHO‘s campaign to raise awareness on maintaining audition based on three principles: first, regular otologic and audiologic checks; second, that hearing loss is mostly preventable; third, that safe hearing can reduce the risk of hearing loss associated to sound exposure during recreational activities. “Millions of teenagers and young people are at risk of hearing loss due to the unsafe use of personal audio devices and exposure to damaging sound levels at venues such as nightclubs, bars, concerts and sporting events,” said Bente Mikkelsen, Director for the Department for Noncommunicable Diseases, WHO.
For this World Hearing Day, WHO included six new recommendations to the Global standard for safe listening at venues and events to limit the risk of hearing loss while enjoying high quality sound. Among other proposals, the organization suggests an exposure of maximum 100 decibels. It also suggests that venues should have quiet zones and hearing protection available.
In Mexico, 50 percent of the population suffering from hearing loss is over 60 years old, while 2 percent are children. The Minister of Health offers medical services to prevent, diagnose and treat auditive diseases. Also, the National Rehabilitation Institute (INR) addresses auditive health and communication problems. Both institutions are essential to overcome challenges related to audition and nowadays they are needed to treat COVID-19 consequences.
COVID-19 exacerbates existing health problems, as reported by MBN, and some auditive diseases are starting to be attributed to SARS-CoV-2. After infection from the virus, 6,000 people presented hearing problems for the first time, said Francisco Luna, Chief of Audiology and Otoneurology Division, INR.
To raise awareness on auditive problems, WHO invites the private sector and governments to include policies and services to prevent hearing loss. In Mexico, there are federal and local laws that include sound regulation to ensure safe listening, such as the Regulation for the Protection of the Environment against Pollution caused by Noise Emissions. “Governments, civil society and private sector entities such as manufacturers of personal audio devices, sound systems and video gaming equipment, as well as owners and managers of entertainment venues and events, have an important role to play in advocating for the new global standard,” said Ren Minghui, Assistant Director General, WHO.