The 3rd of March marks World Hearing Day. On this day it is customary to raise awareness on hearing and how hearing loss affects people of all ages. The theme for this year, as set by the World Health Organisation, is “Ear and hearing care for all!”. This will focus on the importance of integrating ear and hearing care within primary care, as an essential component of universal health coverage.
As stated by the World Health Organisation, it is important to understand that ear and hearing problems are among the most common problems encountered in the community and that over 60% of these can be initially identified and addressed at the primary level of care. The WHO also states that integration of ear and hearing care into primary care services is possible through training and capacity building at this level. With this in mind, it is important to highlight the work towards achieving this by Government and the recently launched the high spec ENT and Audiology suite at the Gibraltar Health Authority makes this evident. This suite will no doubt improve the service provided by the GHA with its top of the range equipment.
With regard to raising awareness, the Ministry of Equality has been working with GHITA throughout the year and this month also supported them together with the Minister for Equality, the Hon. Samantha Sacramento MP, at their information stall by the Cathedral of St Mary the Crowned. The Ministry of Equality has produced hearing awareness and information leaflets and these were handed out by GHITA and Ministry of Equality staff. Copies of the hearing awareness leaflets provided are available on the Ministry of Equality website www.gibraltar.gov.gi/department-equality.
It is also important to highlight the work currently being undertaken by the Ministry of Equality in relation to Hearing. This includes the work being carried out for the production of a HM Government British Sign Language report in line with the recently enacted BSL Legislation and also a HM Government Hearing Loop report which will provide the Ministry with information relating to Hearing Loop services being provided by Government offices.
Further information on the work that the Ministry of Equality does, as well as electronic versions of application forms, booklets, leaflets and other initiatives launched by the Ministry of Equality can be found on the Ministry of Equality website: https://www.gibraltar.gov.gi/department-equality.
The Minister for Equality, the Hon Samantha Sacramento, MP, said: “It is very important to make people aware of the different issues relating to hearing. Awareness days like today help bring these issues to the fore and get people talking about it and may even offer encouragement to those who are thinking of getting checked professionally by the GHA. Hearing issues are something that will likely affect one personally with age or might already affect a close relative or friend, it is very important to know what help is available and what one can do to support someone close to you who is affected by it. It is also extremely important to know what can cause a detrimental effect to hearing and how this can be prevented, as it is widely said, prevention is better than cure. I would like to thank GHITA for the work that they do on a daily basis in order to help and assist people with hearing issues and the collaboration they have with the Ministry of Equality and other Government Departments.”
If you have any concerns about hearing loss, please discuss with your GP by calling 20052441.