Hear good sounds!

It was the motto of a social awareness campaign run this summer in seaside regions by the M.Karłowicz Philharmonic Orchestra in Szczecin. As part of this campaign the Mobile Hearing Center has been conducting hearing tests in 3 seaside cities.

Our aim is raising the awareness of music in our region – said Dorota Serwa, the Director of M.Karłowicz Philharmonic Orchestra. – When we go to a concert, we hear sounds in the best quality. We have no say, however, as to what quality of music we hear outside of the concert hall, and it accompanies us everywhere: at home, at work and when doing sports. Changing of this situation is the aim of the campaign undertaken by the Philharmonic Orchestra under the motto ‘Hear good sounds!’ The campaign involved a series of artistic events, hearing tests and promotional actions popularizing listening to the music of the best quality and the awareness of need for hearing protection and care.

Within the framework of this campaign the team of the Mobile Hearing Center conducted hearing screening and medical examinations of inhabitants and tourists in three cities of Zachodniopomorskie region: Kołobrzeg (at Pioneers’ Square), Międzyzdroje (at Stars Avenue) and in Szczecin in front of the Philharmonic Concert Hall, which is one of the most beautiful buildings in Europe (it received a Mies van der Rohe EU Award). Results of these examinations, similarly to those obtained in screening conducted during the ‘Lato z radiem’ tour, show that problem of hearing dysfunctions grows with age. Incidence of hearing problems in schoolchildren is at about 20%, while in elderly people in exceeds 70%. Education and hearing screening allowing early detection of hearing loss are becoming more and more important for health prophylaxis.

– We all know well how important in communication are hearing, speech and vision. Disorder of even one of these senses can result in worsening of our quality of life and lead to social isolation – said Prof. Henryk Skarżyński. – Today hearing screening makes detecting hearing loss relatively easy. It is worthwhile to take advantage of this opportunity to commence treatment early – encouraged Prof. Skarżyński although there were already lots of people interested in hearing tests and medical consultations provided in the Mobile Hearing Center by dr. Jędrzej Bartosik. Each person who underwent examination received information about hearing status and additionally a bonus voucher for a chosen concert of a Szczecin Philharmonic Orchestra.

Why should we attend philharmonic concerts? Prof. Skarżyński answered that question: – During a philharmonic concert we can hear nearly all sounds. Being able to hear them in a full spectrum is very important for our hearing and development. What’s more, philharmonic music can be a form of tinnitus therapy. As many as 17% of people suffer from tinnitus, particularly the elderly. This complaint is very difficult to treat, especially when it is unrelated to any organic disease. Music acts therapeutically, its sounds help coping with persistent tinnitus.

While inviting people to attend philharmonic concerts, organizers of the campaign had called also attention to the detrimental influence of noise, including this caused by too-loud music. – It is most dangerous for children and young people. It is the young people who most often party in loud clubs and listen to music on ear- or headphones, which is the most destructive for hearing – warned prof. Skarżyński. Sometimes, to save hearing, it is enough to exchange in-the-ear earphones, which are the most harmful, for over-the-ear headphones – observed director Dorota Serwa.

Social awareness campaign organized by the Philharmonic Orchestra in Szczecin inspires optimism. The more people talk about hearing hygiene and prophylaxis, not only physicians, the better chances are that the proportion of people with hearing disorders will stop growing.