Raising awareness about ear and hearing health

It is 3 March, and today is the International Day for Ear and Hearing. Quoting the World Health Organisation’s website, “The day aims to raise awareness and promotes community-based activities for ear and hearing health.”

I found it interesting to discover that hearing loss is the most prevalent sensory disability in the world, with 360 million people worldwide (over 5% of the world’s population) having disabling hearing loss. Hearing loss can be the result of ear infections, but can also be noise induced, caused by disease, or simply be an age related impairment.

Excessively loud music and industrial noises can cause significant hearing loss.(© All Rights Reserved)
Excessively loud music and industrial noises can cause significant hearing loss.
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Suffering a hearing loss impacts directly on a person’s ability to communicate and interact with others.  As such hearing impairment has not only social and emotional impact, but also very real economic impact, on the person suffering from hearing loss.

Where hearing loss does occur, benefit can be derived from devices such as hearing aids, assistive devices and cochlear implants. However, the current production of hearing aids meets less than 10% of the global need.

The most important message on this day is that many of the above-mentioned causes of hearing loss is preventable through actions such as immunization, better health care and sound occupational health practices.

Be aware – protect your precious hearing.

World Multiple Sclerosis Day

Today, more than two million people living with multiple sclerosis (MS) globally commemorate World Multiple Sclerosis Day and share the challenges of living with MS. World MS Day is a global awareness creation campaign. In support of this important initiative, some quick facts about the disease:

  • MS is a disorder of the central nervous system which includes the brain, spinal cord and optic nerves.
  • With MS, the nerves of the brain and spinal cord are damaged by one’s own immune system, making this an autoimmune disease.
  • MS affects about 2 million people worldwide.
  • Women are twice as likely to get MS than men.
  • MS is not yet curable or preventable.
  • MS is not contagious.
  • The cause of MS is still unknown. It may be caused by a virus, although it is unlikely that there is just one MS virus.
  • MS more prevalent in temperate zones such as NZ and Northern Europe.
  • The most common early symptoms include muscle weakness, decreased coordination, blurred or hazy vision, eye pain and double vision.
  • As the disease progresses, symptoms may include muscle stiffness (spasticity), pain, difficulty controlling urination, or problems with cognition.
Although the cause remains officially unknown, various medical studies have shown links between MS and magnesium deficiency. Symptoms of MS that are also related to magnesium deficiency include muscle spasms, muscle atrophy, weakness, twitching, problems with bladder control, osteoporosis and rapid eye movements.
Green vegetables such as spinach are good sources of magnesium because the center of the chlorophyll molecule (which gives green vegetables their color) contains magnesium.
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