Brigitte Klintskov Jerkel

World Hearing Day: Politicians go to work with an artificial hearing loss

GN News

Mar 07, 2017

People with normal hearing often have a hard time relating to the life of a person with hearing loss. As part of the World Hearing Day, three Danish politicians challenged themselves in an experiment where they were equipped with a molded earplug that would reduce the politicians’ ability to hear. Throughout a normal working day in the Danish Parliament with meetings, discussions, phone calls etc. the politicians discovered the constraints a person with a reduced ability to hear faces every single day. 

After a few hours in the life of a person with a hearing loss, the politicians were equipped with a hearing aid in order for them to experience first-hand the benefits of a hearing aid. This experiment opened their eyes – or ears – for the personal impact of hearing loss and also demonstrated the huge benefits for society when investing in the prevention and treatment of hearing loss. 

So how was it?

This has been a very educational experience for me and I will definitely include this experience in future tasks revolving hearing loss,” says Brigitte Klintskov Jerkel, who is the conservative spokesman for health from the Conservative People’s Party.

She highlighted a specific episode, where she participated in a meeting in the parliament, where a colleague whispered a comment to her during a meeting, which she was not able to hear and simply had to abandon the conversation. 

I can imagine how unpleasant and exhausting these situations would be as well as the psychical consequences these situations have on people with a hearing loss,” says Brigitte Klintskov Jerkel. 

Action for hearing loss: Make a sound investment

Hearing loss represents a significant health and societal problem, why the theme of this year's World Hearing Day was "Action for hearing loss: Make a sound investment." 360 million people in the world live with disabling hearing loss and the costs for the society are high, as hearing loss creates a barrier to educational and social integration, causes loss of productivity, cognitive decline and depression among people with a hearing loss. 

Evidence shows that it is highly cost effective to prevent hearing loss, identify hearing loss early, provide rehabilitation and improve access to hearing aids.

"This year's World Hearing Day is a call to action for the policy makers to focus on the enormous social consequences of hearing loss, but also to seize the possible gains we can expect if the necessary investments are made," says Dr. Jill Farrington, Coordinator, Non-Communicable Diseases, WHO.


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