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Hearing problems affect more people around us than we think. In fact, more than 5% of the world's population suffers from disabling hearing loss, according to data from the World Health Organization (WHO). This means that around 360 million people worldwide suffer from a hearing loss of more than 40 decibels for adults and 30 decibels for children.
However, it is important to distinguish between hearing loss and deafness. The first case refers to people who are not able to hear as well as a person whose sense of hearing is normal and is a disability that involves difficulties in hearing loud speech or sounds. Despite this, these people do not usually have problems communicating thanks to the help of hearing aids and other devices. In the case of people who are deaf, hearing loss is more profound, so they hear little or nothing and often communicate using sign language.
Why does hearing loss occur?
These hearing problems can be due to two types of causes:
• Congenital causes: due to hereditary factors or complications during pregnancy or childbirth. Hearing problems usually appear at the time of birth or shortly after.
• Acquired causes: in this case, hearing loss can occur at any age and for reasons as diverse as chronic ear infections, infectious diseases, otitis media, head trauma, exposure to excessive noise, aging or the presence of earwax in the ear canal.
How to prevent hearing loss?
According to the WHO, primary prevention can prevent half of all cases of hearing loss. Therefore, some tips to take care of the health of our ears would be the following:
• Vaccinations: It is important to vaccinate children against diseases such as measles, meningitis or rubella. Women of childbearing age should also be vaccinated against rubella before becoming pregnant.
• Frequent visits to the ENT: In children, the main cause of hearing loss is chronic otitis media, so screenings should be done from time to time. Adults should also see a specialist, especially if they notice that they hear worse than usual. Sometimes the problem is solved simply by removing the earwax plugs that form in the ear canal.
• Avoid exposure to very loud noises, such as loud music (headphones, discos, etc.), noisy machinery, high traffic areas, etc. In the case of being forced to work in this type of noisy environment, it is essential that we adequately protect ourselves with earplugs or headphones that cushion possible damage.
Therefore, once again, prevention is the simplest and most effective measure to prevent this health problem. If you need to go to the otolaryngologist, remember that with AFEMEFA you have at your disposal a wide medical chart.

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