Hear the Future on World Hearing Day 2018
World Hearing Day is held each year on March 3 to promote hearing care and raise awareness of hearing loss prevention across the world. This year the World Health Organization (WHO) has chosen the theme “Hear the future” to draw attention to the worldwide trend that hearing loss is on the rise.
Hearing Loss, and Its Impact, on the Rise
According to data from the WHO released today, 466 million people are currently living with hearing loss; and that number is predicted to reach 900 million people by the year 2050. This will mean greater costs for health systems; higher demand for hearing care services and technologies such as hearing aids and captioning; and mounting social and economic challenges like social isolation, increased poverty, and lower productivity if growing needs are not met.
Mobilizing the International Community
In May of 2017, the decision-making body of the WHO, the World Health Assembly (WHA), unanimously passed the Resolution on Prevention of Deafness and Hearing Loss. It was the first time a resolution on hearing loss had been adopted by the WHA in 20 years.
The resolution invites the WHO to prepare its first ever world report on ear and hearing care, develop a toolkit for Member States, and support the development of safe listening standards. A progress report on implementation is expected at the WHA next year.
How Can You Get Involved?
This year the WHO has issued a series of recommendations for how people can prevent hearing loss and promote hearing health in their communities:
- Hearing care professionals can join hearing care outreach and screening programs, or educate other healthcare professionals on the risks of hearing loss as well as the importance of monitoring hearing in patients treated with ototoxic medicines.
- Policymakers are encouraged to establish training programs for hearing care professionals and other health workers; make available high-quality, affordable hearing devices and communication services; and adopt legislation on sound exposure in public settings.
- Members of Civil Society Organizations can advocate for local hearing care resources, and disseminate awareness and behavioral change campaigns.
In honor of World Hearing Day, we invite you to share our free online hearing test with your community, family, and friends.