Hearing loss is a global medical issue. According to a new report published by the World Health Organization, the number of people in the world with hearing loss will soon be in the billions.
The World Report on Hearing
This past March, the World Health Organization (WHO) put out the first ever World Report on Hearing. This report highlights the challenges facing hearing care today and shines a light on the stigmatization of this disorder as well as the lack of accurate information about hearing loss.
By 2050, WHO estimates that 2.5 billion people all across the world will have some degree of hearing loss, and 700 million will develop moderate to severe hearing loss that requires intervention.
In a statement put out by the organization, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus further explains the importance of these numbers. “Our ability to hear is precious. Untreated hearing loss can have a devastating impact on people’s ability to communicate, to study and to earn a living. It can also impact on people’s mental health and their ability to sustain relationships.” He continues, “This new report outlines the scale of the problem, but also offers solutions in the form of evidence-based interventions that we encourage all countries to integrate into their health systems as part of their journey towards universal health coverage.”
Main Findings of the Report
The purpose of the report is to emphasize the need for providers across the globe to step up their efforts to prevent and address hearing loss.
Hearing Loss Causes
The best way to treat hearing loss is through prevention. Almost 60% of cases of hearing loss in children could be prevented through immunization, maternal and neonatal care, and screening and management of middle ear infections. Hearing loss can also be prevented in adults with noise control, safe listening practices, good ear hygiene and monitoring of ototoxic medications.
This means next time you are planning to enjoy a live show at The Queen, you should be sure to pack your earplugs.
If hearing loss cannot be prevented, identifying a loss early is the next best step. To do so, WHO advocates for implementing clinical hearing screenings at strategic points in life to ensure hearing loss and ear disease is identified as early as possible.
Hearing Loss Treatments
Once a hearing loss is identified, access to timely and appropriate care is crucial. Many ear diseases can be treated with medical and surgical intervention while hearing loss can be treated with hearing aids or cochlear implants.
To learn more about preventing or treating hearing loss or to schedule an appointment with a hearing expert, contact Wilmington Audiology today.