Health Ministry celebrates World Hearing Day

The Ministry of Health & Wellness is collaborating with the non-governmental organisation, the Jamaica Association for the Deaf to bring awareness to the public about ear and hearing health this World Hearing Day, March 3.

“World Hearing Day provides an opportunity to inform ourselves about the importance of protecting our ears and hearing health while also giving us a platform to focus on the social experiences of those who deaf and hard of hearing,” noted Minister of Health & Wellness, Dr. the Hon. Christopher Tufton.

“As we celebrate World Hearing Day this year, let us recognise that ear and hearing health is everybody’s business. Let us also be deliberate about demonstrating empathy and respect for our community members who are deaf or hard of hearing,” he added.

According to WHO, globally, some 1.5 billion people, (including over 30 million children) live with some form of hearing loss, and the number could increase to nearly 2.5 billion by 2050. Among persons 65 years and over, one out of every three persons suffers from hearing loss.

The prevalence of hearing loss varies globally, but the majority of persons affected with hearing loss live in low- and middle-income countries. In the Americas, the WHO estimates that 210 million people live with hearing loss. In Jamaica, researchers estimate that between 7,500 and 200,000 persons live with hearing loss.

Given the reality of these numbers, the Ministry, together with its collaborator the JAD, is encouraging Jamaicans to mind their ear and hearing health.

  • Do not insert cotton buds, sticks or pins into the ears;
  • Do not share earphones or earplugs; Avoid listening to loud sounds;
  • Wear protective hearing gear as appropriate;
  • Avoid swimming, bathing in dirty water; and
  • See a doctor if you have ear or hearing problems.

Together with the JAD, the Ministry is also embarking on a month-long ‘Snack of Silence’ campaign. For each Friday of the month, members of the public are encouraged to take a minute of silence to rest their ears. This means turning off, for one minute, as many sound-generating devices as is reasonable; that will be the snack of silence.