World Hearing Day: 3 March 2023
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 2023 is “Ear and hearing care for all! Let’s make it a reality.”
The International Communication Project (ICP) proudly supports and promotes World Hearing Day and its theme.
The Priority in 2023
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). It highlights the increasing number of people living with and at risk of hearing loss. The report listed 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.
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 2023, WHO will focus on the importance of integrating ear and hearing care within primary care, as an essential component of universal health coverage.
Key messages are:
- Ear and hearing problems are among the most common problems encountered in the community.
- Over 60% of these can be identified and addressed at the primary level of care.
- Integration of ear and hearing care into primary care services is possible through training and capacity building at this level.
- Such integration will benefit people and help countries move towards the goal of universal health coverage.
On 3 March 2023, WHO will launch a new guide called the Primary Ear and Hearing Care Training Manual, as well as a trainer’s handbook and community resources.
WHO’s communication objectives for World Hearing Day are to:
- Draw attention of decision makers in governments and civil society groups towards the WHO’s recommendations regarding integration of ear and hearing care into PHC.
- Encourage governments to integrate primary ear and hearing care into training programmes for health care providers at primary level.
- Call attention of primary level health care providers (health workers and physicians) towards the needs of people with hearing loss and ear disease.
- Inform people about the importance of ear and hearing care and encourage them to seek services.
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 2023, join the conversation and use the following hashtags: #IcommunicationP #safelistening #worldhearingday #hearingcare