St Lucia: Health Minister outlines significance of World Hearing Day

The theme of the world hearing day is the 'hair for life listens with care' has called for actions to promote good hearing health practices. 

St Lucia: Health Minister outlines significance of World Hearing Day
St Lucia: Health Minister outlines significance of World Hearing Day

Casteria: St Lucia joined the World Health Organisation-WHO, the World Health Assembly (WHA) and the rest of the world to observe the world hearing on Thursday, March 3rd 2022. The Minister of Health, Wellness and Elderly Affairs Moses Jn Baptiste has addressed the St Lucians and stated that the country had played a significant role on the world hearing day. 

The theme of the world hearing day is the ‘hair for life listens with care’ has called for actions to promote good hearing health practices. 

Outlining the hearing disparity across the globe, Health Minister quoted the World Health Organisation and noted that according to the WHO, by 2050, one in every four persons or nearly 2.5 billion people will likely have some degree of hearing loss, and at least 700 million people will require rehabilitation. 

“Over one billion young people have the threat of permanent avoidable hearing loss due to unsafe listening practices. Good hearing during our lifetime, as well as care for our hairs, are important elements of good health,” underscored the health minister of St Lucia. 

Health Minister Baptiste further explained that there are many causes of hearing loss that is preventable, including hearing loss caused by exposure to any type of loud sounds such as those within industries—hearing loss associated with recreational sound exposure by loud music or loudspeakers. 

Hearing loss can also be a result of unattended ear infections and other cases, added health minister. 

The Ministry of Health, wellness and elderly affairs remain committed to implementing an evidence-based standard that promotes safe listening for all. Our efforts at screening for herring impairments in St Lucia were aided by the Starkey herring foundation, which conducted three missions during the years 2017-2019, outlined Jn Baptiste. 

“Over 1000 people with hearing impairments were recorded during that period alone. Herring screening is available weekly at the audio clinics, clinics for hearing tests, child health clinics and at community outreach”, the health minister said while noting the treatment of hearing impairments in St Lucia. 

He also mentioned that the ministry of health, wellness and elderly affairs would continue to work closely with the private sector and the childhood development and guidance centre to promote safe listening. 

How do loud sounds affect the ears?

Sensory cells in our ears could help the person hear, and exposure to loud sounds more than eligible time causes fatigue of these sensory cells. This causes temporary hearing impairments or tinnitus. The person could enjoy around the concert, for instance, they could experience muffled hearing or a ringing or buzz in their ears. It often improved the recovery of the sensory cells, which could further be caused by regular exposure to land or prolonged noise. The sensory cells ad other structure could become which further permanently damaged and result in irreversible noise-induced hearing loss, tinnitus or both. 

The loss of hearing could also be caused by exposure to loud sounds, and it is also called noise-induced hearing loss. 

How could anyone maintain their sound level?

  • Keep the volume down. By setting the volume level of the device should be no more than 60 percent of the maximum, and if anyone is using an app to monitor the sound level of the person, the sound level should be stay below 80dB average.
  • Using well-fitted and noise-cancelling headphones need to reduce the volume of the headphone in the noisy situation. 
  • In noisy places, people should use ear protectors, which includes earplugs.
  • Be aware of the sources of sound and should stay away from the sound, such as loudspeakers noisy machinery. 
  • Take a break from the frequent noise as it will help to protect the sensory cells from the impairments within the ears to protect. 
  • By using various apps, people could monitor sound levels, and it should be known to the person to choose devices with built-in safe listening features that could help people to monitor the exposure.
  • Contract the professional if anyone finds any ear tinnitus or persistent ringing and have difficulty while hearing high-pitched sounds or following conversations. 

About significant units

The measurement unit that is used to check the intensity of a sound is the decibel (dB). A measurement unit named whisper is around 30dB, and in when anyone is using any unit in the normal conversation, approximately 60dB. Some other common sounds their approximate intensities (in dB) are given as examples below. 

The sound intensity in decibels Example of the type of sound at the specified intensity

10dB Normal breathing

30dB Soft whispering

40dB Library

60dB Normal conversation

80dB Doorbell

85dB Heavy traffic (inside the car)

90dB Shouted conversation

95dB Motorcycle

100dB Hairdryer

105dB Car horn at 5 meters

110dB Shouting in the ear

120dB Standing near a siren

130dB Jackhammer

140dB Airplane taking off

150dB Firecrackers