Hearing loss is the most common sensory disability globally. In view of the prevalence, preventability and public health impact of this condition, 3 March is observed as the International Ear Care Day. This date was selected due to the shape of the numbers in 3.3, being representative of the two ears. This year, the theme for the day is Ear care can avoid hearing loss.
- 360 million people worldwide have disabling hearing loss.
- Hearing loss may be inherited, caused by maternal rubella or complications at birth, certain infectious diseases such as meningitis, chronic ear infections, use of ototoxic drugs, exposure to excessive noise and ageing.
- Half of all cases of hearing loss are avoidable through primary prevention.
- People with hearing loss can benefit from devices such as hearing aids, assistive devices and cochlear implants, and from captioning, sign language training, educational and social support.
- Current production of hearing aids meets less than 10% of global need.
- Approximately one-third of people over 65 years of age are affected by disabling hearing loss. The prevalence in this age group is greatest in South Asia, Asia Pacific and sub-Saharan Africa.
Hearing loss and deafness
A person who is not able to hear as well as someone with normal hearing – hearing thresholds of 25dB or better in both ears – is said to have hearing loss. Hearing loss may be mild, moderate, severe or profound. It can affect one ear or both ears, and leads to difficulty in hearing conversational speech or loud sounds.
'Hard of hearing' refers to people with hearing loss ranging from mild to severe. They usually communicate through spoken language and can benefit from hearing aids, captioning and assistive listening devices. People with more significant hearing losses may benefit from cochlear implants.
'Deaf' people mostly have profound hearing loss, which implies very little or no hearing. They often use sign language for communication.
Please listen to attached audio clip to understand the hearing loss due to high noise exposure. – Do not change the volume while listening it, to appreciate the effect of noise induced hearing loss.