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Hearing expo reveals many suffer hearing loss

Hearing expo reveals many suffer hearing loss

Half the people who had a hearing test during a hearing expo last year had some form of hearing loss, according to figures revealed by Capital & Coast District Health Board. Five thousand people attended last year’s three-day hearing expo which was designed to raise awareness about hearing loss and how to prevent it.

Wellington Hearing Expo 2007 has earned Capital & Coast District Health Board a finalist’s place in the 2008 New Zealand Health Innovation Awards (HIA). It will compete against 19 other finalists, four of which are also from Wellington.

Hearing loss is one of the fastest growing disabilities in the modern world, with more people becoming hard of hearing through exposure to noise and music. One in ten New Zealanders has some degree of hearing loss, and one study suggests half of all school children show at least one symptom.

Fifteen hundred people took advantage of the free hearing test at the expo last year. The seminar hosted 22 stands offering services such as free ear wax removal, hearing aid checks and a noise expert to teach parents about personal stereos and noisy toys. Three thousand people watched a short film on how to prevent hearing loss.

The Wellington Association for Deaf Children, the Wellington Hearing Association, ACC and Wellington Regional Public Health also had stands. A band showed at what level music becomes loud enough to result in hearing loss.

The seminar was held during Deaf Awareness Week at the end of September 2007. Organised by Capital & Coast District Health Board, it took six months to plan and was free to the public.

The HIA are a joint endeavour of the Ministry of Health and ACC. They were started in 2003 to recognise individuals and organisations that have developed new and innovative approaches to delivering better health services.

Further information about the HIA is available online at http://www.healthinnovationawards.co.nz.

This year’s HIA winners will be announced at the expo and gala dinner held on 4 November at the Wellington Town Hall.

ENDS

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