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Once lost, hearing doesn’t come back: WHO

It launches hearWHO app for mobile devices to help detect hearing loss

03 Mar 2019, 18:52

NTV Online

Dhaka: The World Health Organization (WHO) has urged people across the world to check their hearing as many people live with unidentified hearing loss, often failing to realise that they are missing out on certain sounds and words.

It made the call on this year’s World Hearing Day, being observed on Sunday (March 3).

Worldwide, some 466 million people have disabling hearing loss, and the WHO estimates that by 2050 that figure will almost double, affecting one in 10 people.

Globally, hearing loss which has gone unaddressed poses an annual cost of US$ 750 billion, according to WHO, reports the UNB.

Marking the World Hearing Day 2019, WHO has launched a new mobile and web-based app called ‘hearWHO,’ which allows people to check their hearing regularly, and intervene early in case of hearing loss.

It can also be used by health workers to screen people in the community, and refer them for diagnostic testing if they fail the screening.

Users are asked to concentrate, listen and enter a series of three numbers when prompted. These numbers have been recorded against varying levels of background sound, simulating listening conditions in everyday life, according to UN News.

The app displays the user’s score, and its meaning, and stores the outcome of the test so that the user can monitor hearing status over time.

Symptoms indicating the onset of hearing loss include a ringing sensation in the ear, known as tinnitus; frequently missing parts of a conversation; or a tendency to increase the volume of television, radio or audio devices.

The app is of particular benefit to people who are often exposed to high levels of sound, such as those who listen to loud music or work in noisy places; people who use medicines that are harmful to hearing; and people aged above 60 years.

‘Above all, this app will help us increase awareness of the importance of ear and hearing care,’ said Dr Shelly Chadha, WHO Technical Officer. ‘Once lost, hearing does not come back.

Through World Hearing Day, and with the support of this app, we encourage people to ‘Check your hearing!’ in order to help preserve this valuable gift that helps us to enjoy life.’