We are right in the middle of Hearing and Communication Month and we launched our awareness campaign during the National Hearing Day on May 3. A few days earlier, Audition Québec revealed the results of a survey on noise and hearing health conducted by the firm BIP Research.
A revealing survey that indicates that more than 6 out of 10 people in Quebec say they are bothered by noise, emphasizing the impact of noise pollution on their health and quality of life.
We know that the impact of noise is scientifically measurable and widely documented. I have also had the opportunity to recall that audiologists are scientists who have been warning us of this for a long time. Noise is an insidious form of pollution; a real public health problem that directly affects all people, regardless of age. Its effects are perverse and go far beyond hearing loss or occasional disturbance.
Too often, noise-related disorders are confused with other health problems when it is directly involved. Cognitive fatigue, social isolation, reduced quality of life and activities, psychological distress, anxiety, cardiovascular problem, etc.
Noise is not the first cause we think of when experiencing health problems. However, misidentifying the cause may lead to mistreatment. And this treatment must be a shock treatment. Prevention ! We must reduce noise at the source to protect our ears, to protect our overall health. This is why it is important to educate the population, but also and above all, decision-makers so that hearing health is on the political agenda and is part of the daily hygiene of citizens.
Speaking of prevention, yesterday marked the anniversary of the unanimous adoption of a motion by the National Assembly concerning the Quebec Newborn Hearing Screening Program (PQDSN). This motion urged the government to complete the program by the end of 2021. The Order had been very active in raising awareness among parliamentarians by proposing this motion. A year later, progress is anemic and only 53% of newborns are screened.
In collaboration with the Quebec Association for Children with Hearing Problems (AQEPA), we have chosen to take advantage of this moment to remind the government, which advocates the importance of acting early, that it was urgent to walk the talk and to demonstrate the necessary will to deploy the program throughout Quebec.
As we can see, there is still a long way to go. With our partners, we must continue to join forces to inform, raise awareness and above all ensure that prevention is at the heart of our concerns as a society.
Paul-André Gallant, MBA, MPO, speech therapist