On Ear Care Day UN health agency spotlights risks of noiseinduced hearing

“As they go about their daily lives doing what they enjoy, more and more young people are placing themselves at risk of hearing loss,” Dr. Etienne Krug, WHO Director for the Department for Management of Non-communicable Diseases, Disability, Violence and Injury Prevention said in a press release. “They should be aware that once you lose your hearing, it won’t come back,” Dr. Krug continued, adding: “Taking simple preventive actions will allow people to continue to enjoy themselves without putting their hearing at risk.”International Ear Care Day is an annual advocacy event held on 3 March. Designated at the First International Conference on Prevention and Rehabilitation of Hearing Impairment in Beijing, China, in 2007, the Day aims to raise awareness and promote ear and hearing care across the world, according to WHO.This year, WHO is launching the Make Listening Safe initiative to draw attention to the dangers of unsafe listening and promote safer practices. “In collaboration with partners worldwide, WHO will alert young people and their families about the risks of noise-induced hearing loss and advocate towards governments for greater attention to this issue as part of their broader efforts to prevent hearing loss generally,” the UN health agency said.According to WHO, “some 1.1 billion teenagers and young adults are at risk of hearing loss due to the unsafe use of personal audio devices, including smartphones, and exposure to damaging levels of sound at noisy entertainment venues such as nightclubs, bars and sporting events.”“Data from studies in middle- and high-income countries analysed by WHO indicate that among teenagers and young adults aged 12-35 years, nearly 50 per cent are exposed to unsafe levels of sound from the use of personal audio devices and around 40 per cent are exposed to potentially damaging levels of sound at entertainment venues,” the agency said.WHO explained that safe listening depends on the intensity or loudness of sound, and the duration and frequency of listening. The agency recommends that the highest permissible level of noise exposure in the workplace is 85 decibels up to a maximum of eight hours per day. Many patrons of nightclubs, bars and sporting events are often exposed to even higher levels of sound, and should therefore considerably reduce the duration of exposure. For example, exposure to noise levels of 100 decibels, which is typical in such venues, is safe for no more than 15 minutes.“Teenagers and young people can better protect their hearing by keeping the volume down on personal audio devices, wearing earplugs when visiting noisy venues, and using carefully fitted, and, if possible, noise-cancelling earphones/headphones,” according to WHO. “They can also limit the time spent engaged in noisy activities by taking short listening breaks and restricting the daily use of personal audio devices to less than one hour.”“With the help of smartphone apps, they can monitor safe listening levels,” it said.WHO said governments also have a role to play by developing and enforcing strict legislation on recreational noise.“Parents, teachers and physicians can educate young people about safe listening, while managers of entertainment venues can respect the safe noise levels set by their respective venues, use sound limiters, and offer earplugs and “chill out” rooms to patrons,” according to WHO.WHO went on to say manufacturers can design personal audio devices with safety features and display information about safe listening on products and packaging.Worldwide, the UN health agency says 360 million people today have moderate to profound hearing loss due to various causes, such as noise, genetic conditions, complications at birth, certain infectious diseases, chronic ear infections, the use of particular drugs, and ageing. “It is estimated that half of all cases of hearing loss are avoidable,” the agency said. read more

Second chance leads to a nursing degree for Kerri Ann Podwinski

Kerri Ann Podwinski has been on her own since she was 14. Barely a teenager, she moved out and started taking care of herself.Between making ends meet and her high school classes, something had to give. Her grades suffered.“I had no influential adults in my life,” she said, adding she was alone and dealing with mental health issues including anxiety and depression.Podwinski never believed university was within her reach.That changed when she attended the Second Chance program at Beamsville District Secondary School. Her teacher, Jon Bald, encouraged her to apply herself. He told her she was smart. That she could succeed.She believed him.“I worked three jobs saving money for university,” she recalled.Kerri Ann PodwinskiPodwinski went to night classes and completed some online courses to get the grades she needed to attend Brock University.Friday, she graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree and earned the undergraduate Board of Trustees Spirit of Brock award.During her time at Brock, Podwinski logged a whopping 2,500 hours of volunteer service at the University and in the community.“I definitely wouldn’t be where I am today without all that volunteer experience. I’ve really grown as a person,” she said. “Brock offers a lot of opportunity for extracurricular involvement.”She spent five years volunteering with the Power Cord program at the Brock-Niagara Centre for Health and Well-Being and said the inspirational and motivated people she met there solidified her commitment to working in health care.Mario De Divitiis, middle, presented the Board of Trustees Spirit of Brock awards to Kerri Ann Podwinski and Joshua Bowslaugh at Friday’s Faculty of Applied Health Sciences afternoon convocation ceremony.She also volunteered with MedPlus, Southridge Shelter, Youth Net Niagara, Niagara Health System and the Migrant Worker Health Interest Group.Joshua Bowslaugh was the recipient of the Faculty of Applied Health Sciences graduate student Spirit of Brock award Friday.He completed his undergraduate and graduate degrees at Brock and was an outstanding student who was heavily involved in non-academic activities.Bowslaugh worked at Smart Start, as a teaching assistant and tutor in the Department of Kinesiology and as a volunteer in the SeniorFit program.Dean’s medals were awarded to Cameron Giles and Laura Wiens.Delivering the convocation address Friday morning was Department of Kinesiology associate professor Jae Patterson, the recipient of Faculty of Applied Health Sciences Excellence in Teaching Award.Professor Jae Patterson gave the convocation address to Faculty of Applied Health Sciences graduates after receiving the Excellence in Teaching Award Friday.He told the students about the importance of always challenging themselves.“Sometimes challenges are uncomfortable and sometimes it doesn’t make you the most popular person in the room, but there’s are a lot of benefits,” Patterson said. “If you look at the experts, the only way for them to get better and maintain their expertise, is for them to put themselves in challenging situations. Not only do you learn in challenge, you maintain your expertise in challenge.”The afternoon speaker was professor of Epidemiology Martin Tammemägi, an internationally recognized expert in the field of cancer screening.The convocation was President and Vice-Chancellor Jack Lightstone’s last before he leaves office at the end of the month. The Faculty of Applied Health Sciences ceremonies from Friday can be watched in full below:MORNING read more