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World Hearing Day 2021: Hearing Care for All!

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Highlights:
  • World Hearing Day is an annual global campaign observed on March 3 by the World Health Organization (WHO)
  • The theme for this year 2021 – “Hearing care for ALL!” marks the launch of World Report on Hearing
  • The prime idea behind the venture is to impart awareness on hearing loss and promote timely care for all individuals suffering from hearing loss.

World Hearing Day is a global campaign annually observed on March 3 by the Office of Prevention of Blindness and Deafness of the World Health Organization (WHO). It was formerly known as International Ear Care Day before 2016.

The idea behind the observance is to share information and promote actions towards the prevention of hearing loss and improved hearing care among affected individuals.

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World Hearing Day 2021: Hearing Care for All!
World Hearing Day 2021: Hearing Care for All!

Since the launch of its first event in 2007, the WHO is involved in hosting various activities, developing educational infographics, banners, and events regarding its unique theme every year. An annual World Hearing Day seminar is hosted at its headquarters in Geneva by WHO on World Hearing Day.

World Hearing Day Theme for 2021

With the global call for action to address hearing loss and ear diseases across the life course (especially to policymakers and the general public), the theme of the campaign for 2021 is:

Hearing care for ALL!
Screen. Rehabilitate. Communicate


WHO expresses its key message on prompt and effective management of hearing loss that can encourage the affected individuals to access their education, employment, and communication, thereby achieving their full potential.

Why is Hearing Loss Serious?

Good hearing and communication form an important part at all stages of life. Generally, the audibility of sounds is measured in units of decibels, with the normal human hearing range being 20 to 20,000Hz.
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Deafness of more than 40 decibels (dB) in the better hearing ear in adults (and greater than 30 dB in children) refers to disabling hearing loss. Common causes of hearing loss are inherited diseases, infections, persistent exposure to loud noise, ototoxic drugs, and the aging process.

People at risk of hearing loss must check their hearing regularly and seek care from a health care provider. The impact of deafness can be reduced by early diagnosis and treatment including hearing aids, cochlear implants, educational and social support.

Due to insufficient ear and hearing care around the world, the WHO hosts the launch of several hearing measures in its campaign, one of which includes a WHO Report for Basic Ear and Hearing Care in 2020

In 2019, WHO launched a free mobile application- "hearWHO" for regular monitoring of hearing that would allow for early intervention in case of hearing loss in affected individuals. Sivantos - one of the leading hearing aid manufacturers worldwide also launched its new, state-of-the-art Signia Styletto Connect hearing aid in support venture of 2019.

Thus, WHO is deemed to mark a key message every year for imparting awareness on hearing loss and promote timely care for all individuals suffering from hearing loss.

The Launch of World Report on Hearing

World Hearing Day 2021 is marked to be the global launch year of the first-ever World Report on "Hearing" by the World Health Organization. The prime intent of WHO behind the venture is to provide evidence-based guidance and drive actions for awareness on hearing loss among national governments, international NGOs, and development agencies, and all stakeholders in the field of hearing care.

All the relevant promotional activity and events launching and promoting the World Report on Hearing (WRH) over the 24 hours will be deemed part of the WRH Hear-a-thon. Individuals worldwide are encouraged to use the following social media hash tags for any World Hearing Day activities and supportive post/s during this time:

#hearathon2021
#worldhearingday
#hearingcare
#safelistening

International Communication Project

Communication is a fundamental human right. Tragically, communication challenges and disorders are not recognized as a disability in many parts of the world.

To address the issue and support the World Hearing Day, the International Communication Project (ICP) serves as an advocate for those with communication disabilities, as well as their families, caregivers, and communication professionals.

By signing the pledge of the Universal Declaration of Communication Rights attention can be shifted to persons with communication disorders like hearing loss and bestow them with required professional care.

Addressing the Communication with a Hearing-Impaired Person

Clear communication requires a two-way process between both the listener and the speaker. Simple tips for communicating more effectively with someone who has a hearing loss are as follows:
  • Gain (and give) the attention of (and to) the person at first as it may add to the difficulty if missing the beginning of the message
  • Reduce background noise, avoid shouting, and instead speak clearly
  • Communication with hearing disability individuals can be facilitated by sign language and captioning services
  • Be patient and find an alternative way of saying something, if you're not making yourself understood

Quick Facts on Hearing Loss

  • There are around 450 million people, including 34 million children suffering from disabling hearing loss, accounting for 1 in every 3 people over 65 years of age
  • A global cost of $750 billion international dollars is posed by unaddressed hearing loss
  • Over 900 million persons worldwide will suffer from disabling hearing loss by 2050 if unaddressed
  • The leading cause of hearing loss is chronic ear infections and unavoidable noise
  • Exposure to unsafe listening practices poses a risk of deafness to around 1.1 billion young people (aged between 12-35 years)
  • The highest incidence of disabling hearing loss is seen in South Asia, Asia Pacific, and sub-Saharan Africa.
  • Simple public health actions may prevent 60% of childhood hearing loss
  • Hearing devices such as hearing aids and cochlear implants render benefits to people with hearing loss
References :
  1. World Hearing Day 2021 - (https://www.who.int/campaigns/world-hearing-day/2021)
  2. World Hearing Day: March - (https://www.audiology.org/public-awareness/world-hearing-day-march-3)


Source: Medindia

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