New Zealand Hearing 2018 Awareness Week occurs between the 3rd to the 9th of March with the theme of Noise Destroys! The intention of this week is to encourage all New Zealanders, both young and old alike, to turn their attention to the health and longevity of their hearing. For many there is simply no comprehension that the noise we endure or tolerate today can have a disastrous impact on our future ability to hear, or that once our hearing goes it will not come back. This can be sobering information to learn and is particularly important for younger people who are regularly exposed to loud music through ear buds attached to iPhones, iPods or other personal listening devices.
2018 is also set to be a massive year for music concerts here in New Zealand, which is wonderful for audience members, however not so great for their hearing. Guitar legend Eric Clapton, advised in a recent intervew that is he is losing his hearing, after years of being exposed to loud music. Clapton said that he would continue to play music as well as he can, while he lives with his new reality of life with hearing loss.
The World Health Organisation says that noise exposure is the biggest cause of permanent hearing damage around the world – and it’s avoidable. This Hearing Awareness Week, Hearing New Zealand urges all New Zealanders to have more concern about the long-term impact excessive noise can have on their health. According to Hearing NZ’s National President, Tony Rush, too often the general public really only focuses on noise when it becomes an annoyance.
“Yes, noise can be a nuisance and if it is, only then will we tend to move away from it or complain,” says Rush. “But excessive noise, whether too loud or for too long a period, is often just tolerated yet has very real adverse health implications. Give your ears a battering today and you really won’t notice any detrimental effect tomorrow. But noise induced hearing loss is incremental and irreversible. When you need to wear hearing aids, often after years of denial, then it’s too late to regret not being more aware of the noise you have subjected yourself to in the past´ Rush adds.
Hearing New Zealand has 23 Member Associations throughout New Zealand, seeking to support their members and the around 850,000 Kiwi’s who suffer from some degree of hearing loss or hearing disability. That’s around one in five of our citizens. While some hearing loss occurs naturally, either by age or other factors, exposure to excessive noise at periods in one’s life is the biggest potentially preventable factor.