WHO: Over 5% of world’s population suffer from disabling hearing loss


GENEVA: Over five percent of world’s population or 360 million people globally are suffering from disabling hearing loss, World Health Organization (WHO) officials quoted a survey result as saying on Friday at a press conference.

The full survey result will be unveiled on March 3rd, the International Ear Care Day.

The survey showed that highest prevalence of disabling hearing loss is found in the Asia Pacific, South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa, adding that many countries in these areas lack of capacity to prevent and care for hearing loss.

The WHO pointed out untreated ear infection and vaccine-preventable infectious diseases such as meningitis, measles and mumps are leading causes for hearing loss, which means it could be prevented and treated via vaccine or other treatments.

“Today we know a fact that the main causes of hearing loss can be prevented,” said Shelly Chadha from WHO Prevention of Blindness and Deafness Unit. WHO estimated about half of all cases of hearing loss worldwide are easily prevented or treated.

According to the survey, good ear care practices, such as reducing exposure to noise and avoiding insertion of objects into the ears, can avoid many developing ear and hearing problems, and early identification and appropriate treatment could benefit a large percentage of people with hearing disability.

“The results of this survey are a clear call to action for governments and partners to invest in hearing care especially at community and primary level,” Etienne Krug, Director of the WHO Department of Violence and Injury Prevention and Disability said in a statement.

However, in terms of addressing the ear and hearing problems, many countries especially sub-Saharan Africa in short of trained health personnel, facilities, data and national plans, according to the survey conducted in 76 countries and regions. PNA


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