11 March 2019

Protect and check your hearing!

It is important to protect and check your hearing and to treat a hearing loss when it occurs. Not protecting your hearing and not treating hearing loss is costly – both for the individual and society. These are some of the conclusions from a lunch debate at the European Parliament.

The lunch debate, under the title “Protect and Check your Hearing!”, was held on March 6th at the European Parliament in Brussels.

Safe listening and early identification

Shelly Chadha from the World Health Organization (WHO) spoke about the importance of safe listening and early identification at all ages, as hearing loss can be prevented in many cases and can be addressed if it is identified. Shelly Chadha also introduced “hearWHO”, the new app from WHO where you can check your hearing. She also talked about the work of getting better volume control on smartphones and other listening devices.

Millions with hearing loss costs billions

Kim Ruberg from Hear-it AISBL presented a new report, “Hearing Loss – Numbers and Cost”. The report finds that 34.4 million people in the EU live with a disabling hearing loss and that 22.6 million are not treated for their hearing loss as only one out of three use hearing aids or other hearing solutions. The report concludes that untreated, disabling hearing loss costs 185 billion Euros in the EU each year.

Hearing protection. What?

Mark Laureyns from AEA, the European Association of Hearing Aids Professionals, talked about a survey on the use of hearing protection among younger people. The survey showed that only a few young people use hearing protection and that there are many myths about the different solutions to hearing protection. The survey also showed that hearing protection actually works when used correctly and that the myths are just that – myths.

Social aspects of hearing loss

Darja Pajk from the European Federation of the Hard of Hearing talked about the social aspects of early identification of hearing loss and how hearing loss influences our social relationships. This was done from a personal perspective and her experiences as a person with hearing loss. Darja Pajk also talked about EFHOH and the aim and work of EFHOH.

Slovenian campaign

Finally, Mladen Veršič from the Slovenian organization Zveza talked about the activities, experiences and the results of the Slovenian hearing awareness campaign. The presentation was carried out in sign language which was translated into spoken English.

The debate was hosted by MEP Igor Šoltes from Slovenia.

Watch the debate (in English):

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