The 3rd of March marks World Hearing Day and it is customary to use this day to raise awareness on hearing and how loss of hearing affects people. This year’s theme is “To Hear for Life, Listen with Care” and focuses on safe listening in order to maintain good hearing across your life.
The Ministry of Equality has worked with the GHA’s Public Health department and have produced two leaflets on hearing protection. Noise control is one of the seven key H.E.A.R.I.NG. interventions included in the World Health Organisation’s World Report on Hearing in 2021.
The full key public health interventions summarized in the acronym “H.E.A.R.I.N.G.” are: Hearing screening and intervention; Ear disease prevention and management; Access to technologies; Rehabilitation services; Improved communication; Noise reduction; and Greater community engagement.
The leaflets highlight the importance of mitigating exposure to loud sounds. Safe listening can lessen the risk of hearing loss associated with recreational sound exposure. In Gibraltar, under the Control of Noise at Work Regulations 2006, it is already a requirement for employers to protect their workers from loud levels of noise, but many people are also exposing themselves to loud levels of noise outside their work environment, the most common being listening to loud music using in ear headphones.
The Ministry of Equality has also, in the run up to World Hearing Day, attended the WHO’s World Hearing Day Webinar on 2nd March and has been liaising with relevant departments at the GHA on this subject.
HM Government of Gibraltar is also proud to announce a new partnership between the Care Agency and GHITA (Gibraltar Hearing Issues and Tinnitus Association). The aim is to promote an awareness amongst the Care Agency on how best to support colleagues, service users and members of the public with a hearing impairment.
Members of the Ministry of Equality and the Care Agency will also be joining GHITA for a World Hearing Day online accessibility conference being held on Friday 4th March.
The Minister for Equality, Health and Care, the Hon Samantha Sacramento, MP, said: “Raising awareness on this particular issue is important because for most of us as the quality of your hearing in later years will most probably be affected by choices you have made earlier in life. Our hearing is something we all take for granted, but we should all be wary of how something we may be doing for our own personal enjoyment can be detrimental to our hearing. I would urge everyone to take heed of the message we are spreading and take steps to protect your hearing when necessary. I am also very pleased with the interaction and collaboration of the Care Agency, the Ministry of Equality, the GHA and GHITA to ensure that we are all reading from the same page.”