Mary Schmich’s article, which Baz Luhrmann adapted into the 1999 smash hit “Everybody’s Free (To Wear Sunscreen)” offers advice and warnings which intend to aid the listener to live a happier, healthier life.

Wear sunscreen, stretch, be kind to your knees, get plenty of calcium, dance.

Sunscreen will help protect you from skin cancer. Stretching daily and taking care of your joints will reduce the likelihood of arthritis. Studies suggest that a regular intake of calcium can protect us from brittle bones and even high blood pressure. And an active lifestyle is recommended to avoid diabetes.

I’ve linked the advice to a number of the most prevalent chronic physical health conditions in the US today. However, there’s one missing and it’s the third most common behind diabetes and cancer; hearing loss.

I wouldn’t blame Schmich for the exclusion – it’s a largely unrecognised health problem but almost one in four adults in the US suffer from some form of hearing difficulty. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that hearing loss is associated with decreased social, psychological, and cognitive functioning” and is “inversely associated with distress, somatization, depression, and loneliness among all age groups”.

Ok, time to look outside the US. The World Health Organisation estimates that, globally, 466 million people live with disabling hearing loss. 34 million of them are children.

And due to recreational exposure (nightclubs to personal headphones and everything in between!), over one billion young people (12-35) are at risk of it. Public health campaigns to raise awareness on the issue are paramount as it is largely preventable amongst children.

For hearing loss that has already occurred, I’m going to highlight two companies that are trying to make a difference.

Amplifon supplies hearing aids and has over 65 years’ experience in retailing and fitting the devices. Founded in Milan in the 1950’s, the company now operates in over 20 countries and provides an end to end service. It really excels in this area, evidenced by receiving the “Best in Italy – Champions of Service” award for the past three years. Allan commented on Amplifon’s acquisition of GAES last month. Take a look here.
  Cochlear provides ear implants and over 450,000 people of all ages, across more than 100 countries, now hear because of Cochlear. The company designs, manufactures and supplies three implants for different medical situations. It has the most reliable products on the market and its implants for children rank as the second best healthcare expense, on a cost benefit analysis (behind neo-natal care), according to a Stanford study.

Perhaps if Baz Luhrmann was to re-release the hit “Everybody’s Free (To Wear Suncreen)” it would include the line; “To Wear…. Earplugs”?

Well, there’s a reason I didn’t make it as a songwriter.


In case you missed the reference… Baz Luhrmann – Everybody’s Free To Wear Sunscreen

You may not have heard that it was national ‘Quiet Day’ last week… National Quiet day

About the author

Euan Ker is a sustainable investment analyst. He is responsible for analysing and monitoring environmental, social and governance factors within the Global Sustainable Equity Strategy. Euan joined us in 2014 as an investment implementation analyst with responsibility for implementing macro investment decisions across a number of fund-of-fund mandates, totaling some £13 billion under management. Prior to moving to the ESG Research team in 2018 his responsibilities also included asset class, regional and currency hedging overlays through derivatives. Euan has a 1st Class Honours degree in Management with Economics from Robert Gordon University. He has the IMC professional qualification and has 4 years’ industry experience (as at 30 June 2018).

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