- According to WHO statistics nearly 15 percent of the global population suffer from some form of hearing loss and about 460 million have disabling hearing loss.
- World Hearing Day 2018 observed annually on the 3rd March aims to raise and spread awareness on prevention of hearing loss and optimal management and care of deafness through its campaign.
About World Hearing DayThe first World Hearing Day was observed on March 3rd 2007 with the aim of preventing deafness and promoting hearing, pioneered by the WHO.
Every year the WHO marks the World Hearing Day by bringing out a theme along with catchy posters, banners, infographics and similar material containing latest available data on the topic and ways to address the problem.
This material is made available to governments and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) all over the world and partners of the WHO who participate in this campaign.
In recent years, several member states and partner organizations have joined hands with the WHO to raise awareness of this issue by hosting several events and activities in their respective countries
World Hearing Day 2018 - Make Listening Safe InitiativeThis year the World Hearing Day theme is Hear the Future and Make Listening Safe Initiative focusing on preventive measures and optimal rehabilitation of hearing loss.
It is estimated that over a billion young people (12 - 35 years) worldwide are at risk of becoming deaf due to unsafe listening practices (uncontrolled use of earphones and headphones to listen to music on smartphones). It is estimated that if this problem is not urgently addressed over a 600 million of the global population will suffer from disabling hearing loss by 2030.
To address this pressing problem the WHO has launched the Make Listening Safe campaign this year to promote safe listening practices. Some of the key features of this initiative include the following:
- Development of the Make Listening Safe (MaLiSa) App to highlight the importance of safe listening to children, youth, parents, health professionals and policy makers. The App provides information and tips to promote healthy listening and includes a media player that monitors sound exposure to assist in safe listening.
- Looking into existing regulations and policies on noise control in entertainment venues such as nightclubs, bars and stadiums hosting concerts and sporting events and need for making necessary changes to address this problem.
- Development and implementation of global standards for devices such as mobile phones to enable safe listening in partnership with the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) and other experts.
What We Can Do To Create Awareness About Hearing LossWHO posters and banners bearing educational messages and information are available online and can be downloaded shared widely on social media and other platforms to spread the message of prevention of hearing loss and to better manage hearing loss. Some of these messages are as follows:
- Protect yourself from loud noise
- Have regular ear and hearing check-ups
- Seek medical attention if you have ear pain or discharge
- Check with your doctor whether any medicines that you take might affect hearing
- Ask for captioning and sign language services
- Use hearing aids as indicated
As individuals we can do our bit to organize an event in our community to create awareness. Every hearing loss saved will contribute to achieving the goal.
Hearing Loss - Facts and Figures
- Over 450 million people including 34 million children suffer from disabling hearing loss
- Causes of hearing include inherited diseases, infections, persistent exposure to loud noise, drugs and aging process.
- Disabling hearing loss refers to more than 40 decibels (dB) deafness in the better hearing ear in adults and a hearing loss greater than 30 dB in the better hearing ear in children.
- Statistics estimate that by 2050 over 900 million persons worldwide will suffer from disabling hearing loss.
- Over 30 percent of persons above 65 years of age suffer from disabling hearing loss. The incidence is highest in South Asia, Asia Pacific and sub-Saharan Africa.
- About 1.1 billion young people (aged between 12-35 years) are at risk of deafness due to exposure to unsafe listening practices.
- 60 percent of childhood deafness can be prevented
- Early diagnosis and treatment of deafness is important to reduce its impact. These include hearing aids, cochlear implants, educational and social support.