WORLD HEARING DAY
Every year on March 3rd, World Hearing Day raises awareness about hearing loss prevention. It’s also a day that promotes ear and hearing care.
According to the World Health Organization, 466 million people worldwide, or 5 percent of the world’s population, are affected by hearing loss. Thirty-four million of those affected by hearing loss are children. If we do nothing, over 900 million people will have disabling hearing loss by 2050. Disabling hearing loss means that adults over the age of 15 have hearing loss greater than 40 decibels (dB). Children between the ages of 0 and 14 have hearing loss that is greater than 30 dB.
The primary types of hearing loss include:
- Sensorineural: Caused by inner ear nerve damage, usually due to age or prolonged exposure to noise. Treatment options typically include hearing aids.
- Conductive: Caused by earwax, fluids, tumors, or other obstructions in the outer or middle ear. Treatment usually requires removal of the obstruction, which may require surgery or medicine.
Some people also have mixed hearing loss. This type of hearing loss is a combination of sensorineural and conductive hearing loss. All of these types of hearing loss are considered an acquired hearing loss. Those who have congenital hearing loss means they are born with this condition.
Some things that increase one’s chances of having hearing loss include genes, exposure to disease while in utero, and trauma to the head or ear. Diseases such as meningitis, mumps, severe jaundice cases, and chickenpox can also cause hearing loss.
Hearing loss affects many aspects of a person’s life. Some negative repercussions of hearing loss include decreased socialization, depression, increased irritability, communication problems, increased risk to personal safety, weakened memory, and reduced work performance.
HOW TO OBSERVE WORLD HEARING DAY
Each year on this day, WHO disseminates a variety of evidence-based materials on hearing loss to partners in government, policymakers, and regional WHO offices. These materials include brochures, presentations, infographics, and flyers. The WHO encourages audiologists and hearing loss specialists to offer free hearing screenings along with getting out vital information on hearing loss prevention and treatment.
- Schedule an appointment for a hearing screening.
- Learn about ways to protect your hearing.
- Download the hearWHO app.
- Educate yourself on treatment options for hearing loss.
- Encourage someone with hearing loss to seek treatment.
Spread awareness for this day on social media with #WorldHearingDay
WORLD HEARING DAY HISTORY
WHO created World Hearing Day in 2007. Before 2016, this day was known as International Ear Care Day. Each year, the WHO decides a specific theme for this day. Recent themes have included:
2021: Hearing Care for All
2020: Hearing for Life
2019: Check Your Hearing
2018: Hear the Future
2017: Make a Sound Investment