The World Hearing Day (formerly known as International Ear Care Day) is celebrated annually on 3 March. The aim of this day is to raise awareness among the general public and policy makers about hearing loss and ear diseases.
Theme for the World Hearing Day 2016
The theme chosen by the World Health Organization (WHO) for the celebration of the World Hearing Day 2016 is “ Children hearing loss: act now, here is how!”. This initiative, promoted and supported by organisations like CBM, aims to address the lack of awareness regarding the existing possibilities for prevention and management of hearing loss in children, through public health measures and the implementation of accessible ear and hearing care services.
CBM key interventions in hearing care
1. Raising awareness and sharing knowledge
Strategies focus on:
- Understanding disability rights and barriers experienced by children: in the community, within health and education systems and services, and within legal and economic frameworks
- Explaining the importance of ear care which is affordable, accessible and sensitive
- Promoting the early identification and management of hearing loss, and the provision of appropriate rehabilitation and habilitation services.
The most cost-effective and cost-efficient interventions in Public Health are:
- To give priority to primary prevention
- Early identification
- Prompt intervention
- Rehabilitation and habilitation measures
3. Facilitating capacity building
With the right focus on capacity building, the development of sustainable services can be achieved such as:
- Helping partner organisations fulfil their role as local service providers
- Equipping professionals with adequate tools to deliver good quality services
- Promoting the development and involvement of locally available human resources
- Identifying the right people to receive and provide relevant training
- Involving women, men, girls and boys who are deaf, hard of hearing and deaf-blind to lead and support capacity development and awareness of communities and professionals
- Identifying or implementing strategies to promote the retention and development of the persons trained, including those involved through voluntary cooperation and work experience programmes, to address brain drain, particularly in rural service delivery.
4. Increasing availability and accessibility
CBM supports the development of affordable and accessible ear and hearing care for children, which is sensitive (disability, gender, age, religion, language and culture) and appropriate for the person, her/his family, community and peer group. Our accessibility and availability of ear health care services includes:
- Local availability of suitable qualified personnel at Primary Health Care level.
- Personnel equipped with the necessary instruments, materials and medications.
- Services available for a minimal and affordable financial contribution from the user.
- Accessibility which contemplates the following local aspects: geography, logistics, structure and communication.
Watch Quincy's Story
The impact of hearing loss is felt directly in a child’s life. Speech skills, general communication and educational attainment are affected and as a result, this brings limitations for future life opportunities. That could have been the fate of Quincy. She lost her hearing after a severe infection.
CBM mitigated the impact of Quincy's hearing loss by raising awareness and sharing knowledge with family members and her community. CBM also helped by facilitating capacity building. Now Quincy is able to communicate, be active and contribute to her family life and community activities.
The choice of the date 3rd March is due to the shape of the numbers in 3.3, being representative of the two ears. In April 2007, the First International Conference on Prevention and Rehabilitation of Hearing Impairment was held in Beijing. A key output of this conference was the "Beijing Declaration" which included the recommendation to establish “International Ear Care Day to raise awareness of hearing care and prevention of hearing loss. This day has been observed and supported by partner organisations all over the world. From 2016, this day has been renamed as “World Hearing Day”.