On the International Ear Care Day

Our everyday life is shaped by acoustic signals. We listen to music or podcasts, hear our phone ring and receive speech signals through our hearing. But what does it feel like not to be able to hear or to slowly lose our hearing? Today's day of action aims to raise awareness.

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Today is International Ear Care Day, a day of action organised by WHO together with national partner organisations. The primary aim of the day is to raise global awareness about the importance of hearing, as well as the prevention of hearing loss. In addition, professions that care for human hearing health should receive more attention.

Our hearing is powerful

Our hearing is a complex system consisting of various organs that transmit sound signals to the brain, which processes them. The most complex signal is speech. It becomes even more difficult to process when it is a foreign language. However, our ear can do even more; for example, it is largely responsible for our sense of balance.

Furthermore, people with good hearing are less likely to suffer from depression or Alzheimer's disease. Preventive health care is therefore essential.

A few more exciting facts about hearing

  • Mandarin language promotes absolute pitch. However, the study was conducted with music students. The question is also whether tonal languages in general promote absolute hearing.

  • Hearing impairments are complex and it is by no means the case that everything simply sounds softer.

  • There is not only one sign language. Deaf people can also be multilingual.

  • Some parents communicate with their young children in "dwarf language", which is based on the respective sign languages. This is about children being able to express their needs even before they start learning their first language.

5% of the world's population profoundly hearing impaired

However, about 466 million people worldwide are profoundly hearing impaired, which is about 5% of the world's population. This massively restricts people in their everyday lives. In addition, there are about 34 million hearing impaired children worldwide.

In our everyday lives, healthy people find it difficult to imagine life without hearing. We are constantly surrounded by sounds that are not always healthy. Podcasts and audio books are currently conquering the market. We are thinking about how we can automatically read out the written word or clone voices. The fact that there are also people who are hard of hearing is often forgotten.

So what can we do?

The primary thing that healthy people can do is to have their hearing checked regularly. They can also regularly make their friends and acquaintances aware of their hearing health. For more inclusion, it makes sense to hire sign language interpreters at official events. Some television stations now and then fade in on the signs for their programme. This should be expanded.

Those who cannot directly use sign language should at least offer subtitles. As is well known, alugha offers an automatic transcription. The transcript can also be downloaded. In fact, it was a main concern for alugha to also include deaf or hard of hearing people.

So do you want to start an auditory or audiovisual project and include hearing impaired people? Then start your project here.






Gabriel, Christoph & Meisenburg, Trudel (2007): Romanische Sprachwissenschaft, Paderborn: Wilhelm Fink

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