World Hearing Day 2017

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 2017

The theme for World Hearing Day 2017 “Action for hearing loss: make a sound investment” draws attention to the economic impact of hearing loss. Unaddressed hearing loss poses a high cost for the economy globally and has a significant impact on the lives of those affected. Interventions to address hearing loss are available and are cost-effective.

Promotion of ear and hearing care, prevention of the causes of hearing loss, screening for early identification, prompt intervention and re/habilitation through inclusive professional health and education services and systems, provision of hearing devices, captioning and sign language, are among the strategies which can mitigate hearing loss and its consequences. World Hearing Day 2017 highlights the need for actions which can be undertaken by decision-makers to address hearing loss across the world.

CBM publication ‘Inclusion Counts - The Economic Case for Disability-Inclusive Development’

Based on evidence from a literature review of how barriers in society exclude persons with disabilities from key areas of life, such as health, education, and work and livelihood, this book asks readers to consider the following questions: can governments afford to continue excluding women, men, girls, and boys with disabilities from key areas of life? How can investment in inclusion benefit persons with disabilities, their families, and societies overall and how can international cooperation support this inclusion?

Click here to access the book

Personal account - Ms. Sally Harvest, CBM advisor for Ear and Hearing Care

Watch Sally's powerful video here.

As a profoundly deaf person working as a Community Resource Officer in rural Ireland, I was given an intense insight into the value of investment and support at individual, family and community level.

The word that often springs to my mind, particularly in relation to those who become hard of hearing during their lifetime, is “isolation”. Losing one’s hearing is an invisible but profoundly impactful sequence of events.

It is far easier for the person to withdraw – from friends, colleagues, family, and neighbours – than to challenge the barriers to ensure inclusion. On a global level there is a continuing rise in the number of children and adults developing hearing loss. An added factor is noise induced hearing loss, as we are exposed to loud noise on a daily basis.

These barriers exist at all stages of the life-cycle. If a child cannot hear, this will impact on his/her social engagement, linguistic and communication skills, participation in education and play. Knowing this, we can put measures in place, at all levels, to assist – whether that be technology, training supports for parents, health and education professionals, as well as continued awareness raising programmes.

It’s vitally important for children to develop appropriate communication skills as early as possible, as this ensures inclusion in education and family life. Developing independence, self-esteem and confidence makes it easier to access work and contribute to all aspects of society.

As the young adult grows, the delay in accessing services creates problems in the workplace, in the home and socially – leading to (possibly) loss of income (work), isolation, withdrawal and sometimes, depression. With adults, the average time they wait to do something about their own hearing loss and start using hearing aids is approximate 10 years. By this time it is much more difficult for them to accept and adapt to using available technology.

Targeting those persons at risk of common ear diseases and hearing loss at Community Based Rehabilitation level, it is possible to reduce the prevalence of these issues.

Support is essential on a daily basis, whether it is working with elderly people who can no longer hear the phone, a parent who has difficulty communicating with their children, those who can no longer have a chat with neighbours or any other daily circumstances. 

While the provision of essential support may come at a financial cost, the absence of such supportive measures come at a much broader societal cost, to the individual, health and education system, as well as other social policy objectives.