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World Hearing Day: For Everyone to Hear

More than 1.5 billion lives are affected by some form of hearing loss, making it a significant public health issue. Every March 3, World Hearing Day raises awareness about hearing and ear health. This occasion not only reminds us to prioritize early detection but also campaigns for improving universal health coverage. Read on to learn more.

Featured in: March - Awareness Months, Days & Observances.

History and Background of World Hearing Day

woman wearing earphones
Photo by Jackson Simmer on Unsplash.

The World Health Organization created World Hearing Day in 2007 to raise awareness about ear and hearing health. They chose March 3 to symbolize the three primary types of hearing loss, which are conductive, sensorineural, and mixed. 

In 2017, the WHO adopted the World Health Assembly Resolution WHA 70.13, recognizing the significance of World Hearing Day, leading to its rapid expansion to over 100 countries worldwide. 

Each year, a new theme is chosen to guide the focus of activities. This year, the theme is “Ear and hearing care for all! Let’s make it a reality.” This year's theme outlines integrating ear and hearing care within primary healthcare, making it an essential component of universal health coverage.

In 2024, it will be “Changing mindsets: Let's make ear and hearing care a reality for all!”

Why World Hearing Day Matters

Hearing loss can affect anybody. Over 5% of the world's population has disabling hearing loss due to various factors such as genetic predispositions, infectious diseases, chronic ear infections, specific drug usage, aging, and exposure to excessive noise.

If unaddressed, hearing loss can significantly impact many aspects of life, not only on communication but also on language, speech, cognitive development, education, employment, relationships, and mental health.

Here are some of the latest facts from the World Report on Hearing emphasizing the importance of this awareness day1:

  • Over 1.5 billion people globally (20% of the population) have hearing loss, with 430 million experiencing moderate to severe levels. 
  • The annual cost of unaddressed hearing loss hits over $980 billion, including healthcare, education, productivity, and societal costs. 
  •  A study in Northern Finland indicated that 25-year-olds with unaddressed hearing loss were twice as likely to be unemployed as those with normal hearing.
  • By 2050, about a quarter of the global population will have some degree of hearing loss, and 7% will need hearing care. 
  • Investing in ear and hearing care enhancements in a decade could assist about 1.5 billion people, creating over $2 trillion in productivity.

Efforts and Initiatives

fitting a hearing aid
Photo by Mark Paton on Unsplash.

World Hearing Day is a launchpad for global hearing health initiatives to address hearing loss worldwide. For instance, the “Make Listening Safe” 2015 campaign by WHO focused on hearing protection against exposure to loud sounds in recreational settings.

In the United States, the Hearing Loss Association of America (HLAA) organizes the Walk4Hearing event to raise funds to improve the quality of life for people with hearing impairment and to break the associated stigma.

In the United Kingdom, the National Health Service (NHS) has implemented the Newborn Hearing Screening Program to detect permanent hearing loss in babies early and provide support and advice to parents.

Meanwhile, in Australia, the government has established the Hearing Services Program to offer free or low-cost hearing services for those in need. 

How to Get Involved and Support World Hearing Day

hearing check up
Photo by Anthony Camerlo on Unsplash

Join events, like the World Hearing Forum, hosted by healthcare institutions or community groups. Attendees can benefit from webinars, workshops, and awareness campaigns to learn about hearing health and connect with others who share their interests.

Share facts, figures, and personal experiences to promote ear and hearing care online. Remember to add hashtags like #WorldHearingDay to reach a wider audience.

Host charity events or launch crowdfunding campaigns to raise money for non-profits or research into hearing technologies.

Lobby policymakers should take action to improve and integrate ear and hearing health care into primary care services. Also, advocate for the training and capacity building of ear and hearing care professionals.

Encourage people around you to care for ear health to prevent hearing problems. Maintain it by keeping volumes low, avoiding excessive noise, having regular check-ups, and using hearing protection when necessary.

Conclusion

World Hearing Day reminds us of the preventable aspects of hearing impairment. Moreover, it emphasizes the need for support for those who suffer from it. Our collective efforts can bring about positive change in hearing health, making it accessible to everyone. 

From spreading awareness to advocating for policy changes, let us work towards a world where good hearing health is a right for all. 

World Hearing Day FAQs

1. What is World Hearing Day?

It is an annual event, every March 3, that aims to raise awareness of hearing loss and its various impacts. It also emphasizes the need for ear and hearing care.

2. How can I participate in this awareness day?

Promote World Hearing Day by spreading the importance of hearing health through social media, participating in events, and supporting organizations that work toward the cause.

3. What are some common causes of hearing loss?

Common causes include aging, exposure to loud noises, genetic factors, certain medical conditions, and ototoxic medications. Use ear protection and practice good ear hygiene to help prevent hearing loss.

1

World Health Organization. (2021). World report on hearing.

By Mike Gomez, BA.

Mike is a degree-qualified researcher and writer passionate about increasing global awareness about climate change and encouraging people to act collectively in resolving these issues.

Fact Checked By:
Isabela Sedano, BEng.

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