World Hearing Day is held on 3 March each year to raise awareness on how to prevent deafness and hearing loss. It is also an opportunity to promote ear and hearing care across the world. It coincides with Hearing Awareness Week in Australia, which runs from Monday 1 March to Sunday 7 March.
Hearing loss affects 70 per cent of people over the age of 70 and can have a significant impact on quality of life. Over half a million hearing aids are bought in Australia every year, and over 10,000 Australians list Auslan as their first language.
It is important to be aware of the signs of hearing loss, including frequently needing to ask others to repeat themselves, not being able to hear properly on the telephone and not feeling comfortable in noisy situations such as restaurants.
In response to COVID-19, many people are wearing masks and 1.5m apart while in the community. This presents some new challenges for everyone, but especially people with hearing loss or communication problems. This means we may have to make adjustments when communicating verbally.
Tips for communicating while wearing a mask or physical distancing
- Make sure you have your communication partner’s attention.
- Face your partner directly, and make sure nothing is blocking your view.
- Talk a little louder.
- Talk a little slower.
- Use your hands and your body language.
- Ask your partner if they understood you. If they have not, say it a different way or write it down.
- Move to a quiet place if you can.
- If you’re talking with someone new, ask if there’s anything you can do to make communication easier for both of you.
Monash Health Audiology supports Hearing Awareness Week and invite all Monash Health employees to have a free diagnostic hearing assessment at Monash Medical Centre and Moorabbin Hospital. For more information or to register for a free hearing assessment, you can email Monash Audiology or give them a call on 9594 2428.
Approved by Dr Anjali Dhulia