The impact of
unaddressed hearing loss at the individual and family levels is also significant.
Children may face difficulty in developing spoken language abilities, could
have delayed language development and would require additional support in
education. On the other hand, adults may struggle to secure employment and
receive competent wages, in addition to facing emotional distress in everyday
life and decline in cognition in the case of older people with
, drugs and aging. Many of these causes leading to
hearing loss could be prevented by approaches like immunization and restricted
exposure to loud noise. Adopting strategies like
listening devices, cochlear implants and rehabilitation are options available
for people who have developed hearing loss. Most importantly early identification along with timely
interventions is crucial in addressing hearing loss and the WHO has made this
the theme of World Hearing Day 2019.
WHO has prescribed recommendations to help adopt measures for early
identification. These include newborn screening soon after birth and
intervention in the form of therapy and assistive devices for those detected
with hearing loss.
Regular testing of children in schools, focussing on common ear
conditions and hearing loss by adopting screening programs is also recommended. Frequent screening for at-risk
populations exposed to high levels of noise at
or recreational settings and those who take drugs causing
hearing loss. For older people aged above 60 years annual screening is
recommended to identify age-related hearing
loss and treating it.
hearWHO - The Mobile App
'hearWHO' is a software application that has been
developed by the WHO to assist in screening for hearing in adults.
The app, available for free download on both Android and iOS platforms,
offers a test based on validated digits-in-noise technology.
app allows a user to check their hearing status and also
monitor it over time. It displays the results clearly and helps maintain a
personalized track record of hearing status.
Use of the app is highly recommended for those at a higher risk of hearing
loss, in various settings and those who fail the screening should be prescribed
Hearing loss is not always very apparent. Signs to watch out for include
raised volume while conversing, missing parts of conversations, asking people
to repeat and ringing sensation in the ears. Use of 'hearWHO' could be an initial step in screening to ensure
better outcomes for individuals in various aspects like education and quality
- WHO - Deafness Prevention - (https://www.who.int/deafness/en/)