World Hearing Day

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World Hearing Day: 3 March 2019

A poster with text in four blue boxes: "You could have a hearing loss, if: You tend to raise the volume. You miss parts of conversation. You often ask people to repeat. You have a ringing sensation in the ear." Text on the bottom of the poster says, "Check your hearing!" And an arrow points to a logo with an egg with headphones on it with the text "hearWHO" and "Download the app." The logo for the World Health Organization is at the bottom left corner.

World Hearing Day is held on 3 March each year to raise awareness of how to prevent deafness and hearing loss and to promote ear and hearing care across the world.

Each year, the World Health Organization decides the theme. The theme for World Hearing Day in 2019 is “Check your hearing!”

The International Communication Project (ICP) proudly supports and promotes World Hearing Day and its theme.

Communicating with a hearing-impaired person

Communicating with someone who has a hearing loss need not be difficult. Here are some simple tips for communicating more effectively with someone who has a hearing loss:

  • First, gain their attention. Face the person directly and, whenever possible, remain at the same eye level. Missing the beginning of the message can make understanding very difficult.
  • Speak clearly; there is no need to shout.
  • Make sure you keep your hands away from your face. Give the listener every chance to see your whole face.
  • Reduce background noise (e.g., by turning off the radio or television). Relatively quiet listening conditions are recommended because this provides the best-possible voice reception and allows the listener to use any visual cues they may need to assist speech understanding.
  • Make sure light is not shining in the listener’s eyes.
  • If you’re not making yourself understood, find a different way of saying the same thing.
  • Be aware that the listener may have difficulty understanding speech, even with a hearing aid. Some hearing-impaired people have more difficulty following a conversation than others.

Communication is a two-way process. Both the listener and the speaker should take responsibility for clear communication.

What does the theme for World Hearing Day mean?

On World Hearing Day 2019, the World Health Organization seeks to draw attention to the importance of early identification and intervention for hearing loss. Many people live with unidentified hearing loss, often failing to realise that they are missing out on certain sounds and words. Checking one’s hearing is the first step towards addressing the issue.

The key messages related to the theme in 2019:

  • All people should check their hearing from time to time, especially those who are at a higher risk of hearing loss such as adults above 50 years, those working in noisy places, those listening to music at high volumes for long periods of time and those experiencing ear problems.
  • Services for early identification and intervention should be made available through the health system.

On 3 March 2019, WHO is launching a free app to allow people to check their hearing. Learn more about the new WHO app.

Ten facts about hearing loss you should know

  • Fact 1: There are around 360 million people with disabling hearing loss.
  • Fact 2: Unaddressed hearing loss poses a global cost of $750 billion international dollars.
  • Fact 3: Thirty-two million children have disabling hearing loss.
  • Fact 4: Chronic ear infections are the leading cause of hearing loss.
  • Fact 5: Nearly one in every three people over 65 years are affected by disabling hearing loss.
  • Fact 6: Noise is a major avoidable cause of hearing loss.
  • Fact 7: Hearing loss can be caused by occupational noise and the use ototoxic medications.
  • Fact 8: People with hearing loss can benefit from devices such as hearing aids and cochlear implants.
  • Fact 9: Sign language and captioning services facilitate communication with people who are deaf and hard of hearing.
  • Fact 10: Sixty per cent of childhood hearing loss is preventable through public health actions.

Learn more: Facts and figures about hearing loss.

What can you do on World Hearing Day?

Communication is a basic human right. Unfortunately, in many parts of the world, communication difficulties and disorders are not recognised as a disability. That’s why the ICP urges you to sign the Universal Declaration of Communication Rights. By signing the pledge, you help bring attention to persons with communication disorders (like hearing loss) and the professional care that can help them. And to assist you, we will keep you up-to-date with information about what’s being done by the ICP and others to ensure that communication is a basic human right. It is why the ICP supports World Hearing Day and its theme: Hear the Future.

Sign the ICP pledge today!