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International Ear Care Day 2014: avoiding hearing loss

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Poster of World Ear Care Day 2014Providing diagnostic procedures with appropriate professional education and affordable hearing aids services worldwide is the most effective and cost-effective way to reduce the burden of hearing impairment2 March 2014 - “Ear care can avoid hearing loss” is the theme for International Ear Care Day 2014. Celebrated on 3 March every year, the Day is an opportunity to promote action at global, regional and national levels to further promote ear care and reduce hearing impairment.

Hearing loss is the most prevalent sensory disability and a problem that is increasing globally. WHO estimates that 5.3% of the world’s population lives with disabling hearing loss. Different age groups are affected. About 25% of cases of hearing impairment start in childhood, and ageing contributes to the increase in cases with hearing loss.

One in three people over the age of 65 is living with some form of hearing impairment. About 80% of all people with deafness and hearing impairment live in low- and middle-income countries. Approximately 40 million people with disabling hearing loss live in the Eastern Mediterranean Region. 

At least 50% of cases with hearing loss can be avoided by primary prevention and healthy ear care practices. In response, WHO calls on Member States to integrate prevention and management of hearing loss into their primary health care systems.  

To address the issue WHO has developed a training resource on primary ear and hearing care, which aims to equip primary health care workers in developing countries with simple and effective methods to reduce the burden of ear and hearing disorders. Another important resource is “Promoting ear and hearing care through community-based rehabilitation", which aims to develop and strengthen universal and equal access to prevention, treatment, care, support and services for people with, or at risk of, ear diseases and hearing loss. 

Related links

Frequently asked questions about ear care

International Ear Care Day 2014, 3 March 2014

Resources for ear care

Training resource on primary ear and hearing care

Promoting ear and hearing care through community-based rehabilitation