09 May 2005

Half of the Spanish population has never had a hearing test

Fifty percent of the Spanish population has never had a hearing test. Among Spaniards aged between 55 and 75 years only one in three have ever had a hearing screening, according to data provided by the Spanish Society of Otorhinolaryngology.

In Spain three million people, or 8.3 percent of the total population, suffer from some degree of hearing loss. Hearing loss is the third most common condition after arthritis and hypertension. Hearing problems have increased among young people due to continuous exposure to sounds above 95 decibels. In fact, some surveys have shown that Spain is one of noisiest countries in the world.

According to the ENT specialists, the reason why half of the Spanish population has never had a hearing test is low awareness and acceptance of hearing problems in the Spanish society. Little or no public attention has been paid to the importance of early detection.

Today, this problem is finally being addressed. Several campaigns have been launched in an attempt to raise public awareness of hearing loss and promote hearing health. Campaigns titled "Early Detection of Infants' Hearing Loss" and "Don't forget your ears" promote hearing tests and early treatment of hearing problems.

Early treatment is essential. In children, early detection and a proper treatment are crucial to preventing future problems. In young people and adults, early treatment may prevent or alleviate serious problems such as stress, depression and social isolation.

Sources: www.ruido.org and www.entornosocial.es

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