3rd March is celebrated as World Hearing Day. This year, the theme is ‘Don’t Let Hearing Loss Limit You. Hearing for Life.’
Hearing care and hearing loss were highlighted as a public health issue with the adoption of the resolution (WHA70.13) on prevention of deafness and hearing loss during the World Health Assembly in 2017. This resolution calls upon WHO and its Member States to undertake advocacy through World Hearing Day on 3 March.
March 3rd was selected as World Hearing Day because 3.3 resembles two ears.
World Hearing Day aims to:
- Promote public health actions for ear and hearing care.
- Stimulate intersectoral partnership for ear and hearing care.
- Raise awareness on hearing loss and care at a national and community levels across the world.
- Encourage behavior change towards healthy EHC practices.
Approximately 466 million people live with disabling hearing loss. An overwhelming majority of them reside in low- and middle-income countries and commonly lack access to required services and interventions.
Unaddressed hearing loss is the leading cause of morbidity and poses an annual cost of $750 billion globally.
It is expected that the prevalence of hearing loss will rise considerably in coming decades due to changing population demographics, increasing exposure to risk factors such as recreational noise, as well as persistence of untreated ear conditions such as otitis media.
Many of the causes that lead to hearing loss are preventable. In children, 60% of hearing loss can be prevented through public health strategies. Those who have hearing loss can greatly benefit from timely and appropriate interventions.
Care of the ears: DOs and DON’Ts
- Ask for a hearing screening test for your baby.
- If you suspect someone has a hearing loss, refer them urgently to a health worker. This is especially important for infants and children.
- Get help from a health worker or doctor in case of persistent ear-ache, ear discharge or any other problems with the ear.
- See a health worker or attend a clinic to have earwax or foreign objects in the ear removed.
- Assist young children and adults with the care and maintenance of their hearing aids or implants.
- Go to a doctor if your child has a cold that it is not improving.
- Encourage the use of hearing protection for those working in noisy place.
- Encourage families and teachers of someone with hearing loss to learn sign language.
- Only use medications in your ears that have been prescribed for you by the doctor.
- Trust your instinct! If you suspect something is wrong with your hearing, seek help.
- DON’T put anything in the ear. No cotton buds, clips, toothpicks, sticks or hopi candles.
- DON’T ignore an ear that has any pus or fluid coming out of it.
- DON’T treat any ear conditions with hot or cold oil, herbal or home remedies.
- DON’T swim or wash in dirty water.
- DON’T listen to very loud noises or music for long periods as this can cause hearing loss.
Link to the WHO news release:
Link to World Hearing Day 2020 website:
Link to WHO factsheet on deafness and hearing loss: