World Hearing Day is held on 3 March each year to raise awareness on how to prevent deafness and hearing loss and promote ear and hearing care across the world. Each year, the Office of Prevention of Blindness and Deafness of the World Health Organization (WHO) decides the theme and develops a brochure on the topic based on the best available evidence as well as advocacy materials. At its headquarters in Geneva, WHO organizes an annual World Hearing Day seminar.
The theme of the campaign for 2019 is “Check your hearing”, as data from both developed and developing countries indicate that a significant part of the burden associated with hearing loss comes from unaddressed hearing difficulties. Many people live with unidentified hearing loss, often failing to realize that they are missing out on certain sounds and words. Checking one’s hearing would be the first step towards addressing the issue.
The key messages that the World Health Organization wishes to express are:
- 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 will launch a free app that allows people to check their hearing. The HearWHO app will be used to:
- Raise awareness about the importance of hearing
- Encourage people to check their hearing regularly and practice safe listening
- Allow health workers to check the hearing status of people in their communities
- Determine the need of an individual for having a formal hearing test
Excerpts from: World Health Organization