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World Hearing Day: 3 March 2022

World Hearing Day 2022

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 2022 is “To hear for life, listen with care.”

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

The Priority in 2022

In 2021, World Hearing Day was marked by the launch of the first-ever World Report on Hearing (WRH). The report was developed in response to the World Health Assembly resolution (WHA70.13), adopted in 2017, as a means of providing guidance for Member States to integrate ear and hearing care into their national health plans.

Based on the best available evidence, the report presents epidemiological and financial data on hearing loss; outlines available cost-effective solutions and sets the way forward through ‘Integrated people-centered ear and hearing care’ (IPC-EHC).

The WRH was developed in collaboration with experts and stakeholders in the field of ear and hearing care who informed the report’s strategic direction and ensured that it reflects a range of cultural contexts and approaches to hearing care. The report is global in its reach while keeping a special focus on low- and middle-income countries, where the number of people with hearing loss is not matched by the availability of services and resources.

Read the World Report on Hearing [PDF].

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 2022, WHO will focus on the importance of safe listening as a means of maintaining good hearing across the life course. In 2021, WHO launched the World Report on Hearing [PDF] that highlighted the increasing number of people living with and at risk of hearing loss. It highlighted noise control as one of the seven key H.E.A.R.I.N.G. interventions and stressed the importance of mitigating exposure to loud sounds.

World Hearing Day 2022 will focus on the importance and means of hearing loss prevention through safe listening, with the following key messages:

  • It is possible to have good hearing across the life course through ear and hearing care
  • Many common causes of hearing loss can be prevented, including hearing loss caused by exposure to loud sounds
  • ‘Safe listening’ can mitigate the risk of hearing loss associated with recreational sound exposure
  • WHO calls upon governments, industry partners and civil society to raise awareness for and implement evidence-based standards that promote safe listening.

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: Hearing care for all!

For World Hearing Day 2022, join the conversation and use the following hashtags: #IcommunicationP #safelistening #worldhearingday #hearingcare

Sign the ICP pledge today!