Three Medical Colleges- Father Muller, Yenepoya & AJ join in ‘WALKATHON’ to mark ‘World Hearing Day’

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Three Medical Colleges- Fr Muller Medical College (Speech & Hearing), Yenepoya Department of Audiology & Speech Language Pathology, Deralakatte; & AJ Institute of Speech & Hearing hold ‘WALKATHON’ to mark ‘World Hearing Day’ on Sunday, 3 February 3024, organized by Father Muller Medical College (Speech & Hearing)

Mangaluru: World Hearing Day is a campaign held each year on March 3. The campaign’s objectives are to share information and promote actions towards the prevention of hearing loss and improved hearing care. Any individual or organization can participate in various ways, by sharing campaign materials and organizing outreach actions. Examples are provided in the World Hearing Day annual activities reports. For participation to be recognized, one needs to register and report on their activity. Each year, the WHO selects a theme, develops educational materials, and makes these freely available in several languages. It also coordinates and reports on events around the globe. Individuals and communities involved in hearing care are encouraged to organize activities to raise awareness about the importance of ear and hearing care and encourage them to seek services.

The Theme for 2024 World Hearing Day is “Changing mindsets” concentrates on overcoming challenges posed by societal misperceptions and stigmatizing mindsets through awareness-raising and information-sharing targeted at the public and healthcare providers “Let’s make ear and hearing care a reality for all!”. The main objectives of World Hearing Day 2024 will be to challenge ear-related misconceptions, provide evidence-based information to reshape public perceptions of hearing loss and call on nations and society to combat stigmas for equitable access to ear and hearing care. And locally here, Father Muller College (Speech and Hearing), in collaboration with Yenepoya Department of Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology YMC, YU; A.J. Institute of Speech and Hearing; and other partners, have organized a series of events in celebration of World Hearing Day on 3rd March 2024, with ‘WALKATHON 2024’ being one of them.

The Walkathon was flagged off from Father Muller Medical College Hospital’s front grounds, Kankanady at 7:00 am by Fr Nelson Dheeraj Pais Assistant Administrator FMMCH & FMC, and concluded at Kadri Park. The Walkathon aimed to raise awareness about the importance of ear and hearing care, in line with this year’s theme “Changing mindsets: Let’s make ear and hearing care a reality for all,” said Prof Cynthia Santhumayor, Principal of Father Muller College, and a large number of students from these three medical colleges took part in the Walkathon. Speaking to Team Mangalorean, Dr Aju Abraham, Vice Principal FMC said in addition to the Walkathon, a Free Hearing Screening Camp will be organized for various communities in and around Mangalore. Furthermore, Father Muller Charitable Institutions will install a sound level meter on the hospital premises to monitor noise levels and minimize the effects of noise pollution.

Assistant Commissioner of Police (Traffic) Ms Geetha Kulkarni was the Chief Guest for the valedictory programme at Kadri Park, joined by the Registrar of Yenepoya University K S Gangadhara Somayaji; Fr Richard Coelho- Director, Father Muller Charitable Institutions, Mangaluru; Ms Cynthia Santhumayor- Principal, Father Muller Medical College (Speech & Hearing); Prof Swetha Prabhu- Principal, Yenepoya Medical College of Audiology/Speech & Hearing; Ms Rashmi Ananth Pai-Principal, A J College of Speech & Hearing. Ms Cynthia Santhumayor welcomed the gathering, and thanked the students for their commitment and dedication in joining in the Walkathon, thereby bringing awareness among the public regarding hearing loss due to various reasons.

Speaking on the occasion, ACP Ms Geetha Kulakarni said, “This is an excellent initiative taken by the students of these three medical colleges to bring awareness to Speech and Hearing, resulting in hearing loss. Our traffic department is doing its best to control noise pollution created by motorists who honk horn/shrill horns in restricted areas when they are not supposed to. These blaring horns are a safety hazard to the public ears, which will eventually lead to hearing loss. I request you students and the general public if they see/hear motorists using shrill horns or honking constantly, call 112 and report the number plate of the vehicle, and we will take the necessary action. Together we can control the noise pollution created by these irresponsible motorists, and bring a change in this smart city.”

Also speaking Yenepoya University Registrar Gangadhar Somayaji said, “As an ENT specialist I know the inconvenience and hardship a hearing loss can affect a person. We ENTs only can’t bring in a change in noise pollution, but you as audiology students should also play a vital role in bringing awareness among the public of the safety hazards caused by loud music/noise. Listening to 15 minutes of soothing music is much better and safer than listening to 15 minutes of DJ or loud music, which will ruin your ears. Make use of the necessary hearing aids and other safety devices, to prevent hearing loss. Tinnitus (pronounced ti-ni-tus), or ringing in the ears, is the sensation of hearing ringing, buzzing, hissing, chirping, whistling, or other sounds. The noise can be intermittent or continuous and can vary in loudness. It is often worse when background noise is low, so you may be most aware of it at night when trying to fall asleep in a quiet room. In rare cases, the sound beats in sync with your heart (pulsatile tinnitus). Always take precautions when listening to loud music or if you are nearby to a noisy area.”

Rev Fr Richard Coelho addressing the participants said, ” While hearing is important, even Listening is also important. I am thrilled to see so many of you participating in this Walkathon to mark World Hearing Day. It was an opportunity to educate the public about hearing health and the services available to them moreover with hearing impairment understanding and communication are decreased leading to misunderstanding and disputes. An awareness as such is required to help realize that hearing and other senses play a vital role in everyday living. I am grateful for the support of our partners and the District Health Department of Dakshina Kannada & Mangalore City Corporation in delivering timely services to the underprivileged. Awareness programmes like these can make a big difference in the community.”

Prof Swetha Prabhu Principal YU mentioned the various initiatives to be carried out throughout the whole month of March in aid of the World Hearing Day. A month-long free hearing screening drive for all and cochlear implants for children below 6 years sponsored by SASTH will be provided free of charge at the hearing department at Yenepoya Medical College, Deralakatte. Prof Reshmi Ananth Pai, Principal of AJ Speech and Hearing promoted the various activities by her college during the month-long drive. She emphasized the importance of creating awareness as the young generation is exposed to louder sounds and increased noise pollution for the general public. These events are part of a larger initiative to address misconceptions and stigmas surrounding hearing loss. Through awareness-raising activities, including talks, skits, plays, and public pamphlet distribution on hearing health, the organizers aim to educate the public and healthcare providers about the importance of early intervention and care.

The vote of thanks was proposed by Prof Swetha Prabhu, and the valedictory programme was meticulously and eloquently compered by Dr Prashasthi Poovaiah, the Associate Professor, Dept of Audiology, Father Medical College (Speech & Hearing).

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