WC Year 9 students have been tested under the National Foundation for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Hearing Screening and Make Listening Safe Programme.
This is such an important initiative to help young Kiwi kids with their hearing health as well as educate them on unsafe listening habits which, unfortunately, in this modern world are leading to increasingly high levels of youth hearing loss globally.
Wellington College hearing screening results indicated that 4% of the students screened had abnormal hearing results. Some of these students are now being referred for a full hearing assessment. In addition, 23%of these students advised they are experiencing ringing in the ears, otherwise known as Tinnitus. In the majority of cases, Tinnitus leads to hearing loss and hearing health issues in the future; this is a worrying trend we are seeing across New Zealand. Ringing in the ears is also being experienced by those students who are returning a normal hearing screening result, which could mean, if they continue with unsafe listening habits, hearing loss could be a real issue in the future.
Unsafe listening habits include listening to personal devices, such as smartphones, at higher volumes than recommended and for long periods. At Wellington College, 35%of Year 9 students are listening at unsafe levels, highlighting the importance of educating students and their parents on how young people can enjoy listening to music and recreational noise safely, to protect their hearing. Once a person’s hearing is gone, they cannot get it back.
More information is available on the Foundation’s website with resources that parents and young people can read through to protect their hearing, https://www.nfd.org.nz/school-programmes.