World Hearing Day 2021

This image shows children in a classroom in Ethiopia, wearing a purple uniform. Some are signing with their hands.

14-year-old Alazar (3rd from right) attends an inclusive school - the EECMY School for the Deaf, in Hosanna, Ethiopia. He is hearing impaired and was deaf at birth. At school he is able to participate in class and communicate with his teachers and classmates using sign language.
© CBM

World Hearing Day is observed annually on 3rd March. For 2021 the theme is “Hearing Care for all: Screen, Rehabilitate, Communicate”.

However, World Hearing Day 2021 is particularly important as the first ever World Report on Hearing is being launched on this Day. This report was commissioned by the World Health Assembly in 2017. This milestone has been possible after years of awareness raising, advocacy and collaboration between WHO Member States and Civil Society Organizations across the world, including CBM.

What is the World Report on Hearing about?

The Report focusses on explaining why hearing matters, the impact of hearing loss, actions for ear and hearing care, the challenges faced and then designs the way forward by proposing interventions for implementation to promote ear and hearing care.

The Report is designed to help guide global policymakers and governments along with civil society organisations in shaping national ear and hearing care policies. We hope it will serve as a resource to raise awareness for deafness and hearing loss and encourage policy action for provision of ear and hearing care in their countries

How CBM contributed to the World Report on Hearing

CBM supported the publication of this Report in several ways:

  1. Support Resolution WHA70.13 on Prevention of Deafness & Hearing Loss, adopted in 2017, through which the production of the report was commissioned.
  2. Contribution to the design of the report alongside WHO working groups of experts.
  3. Revision of all the report drafts under confidentiality agreement.
  4. Proposal of themes and authors for relevant topics.
  5. Submission of case studies and examples reporting experiences of EHC partners and Governmental collaboration, for specific sections of the report.
  6. Co-chairing of World Hearing Forum working group for monitoring the Report and the Resolution WHA70.13 (R&R core team).
  7. Promotion of WRH Pre- and Launch activities worldwide, through meetings, webinars, lectures, newsletters, articles, events, etc., including CBM webinars.

Watch a video about the launch of the World Report on Hearing on World Hearing Day 2021

Accessible sub-titles for the video are available here.

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Access the first ever World Report on Hearing.

The first ever World Report on Hearing (along with an executive summary, global infographics and a policy brief) can be accessed on the WHO website.

Read the Report here.

Key messages and recommendations of the Report

The main messages are:

  1. At all life stages, good hearing and communication connect us to each other, our communities, and the world.
  2. Preventative actions at all stages of life can reduce prevalence of hearing loss.
  3. Existing interventions can reduce the occurrence of hearing loss, mitigate its adverse impact and improve quality of life in those who have hearing loss.
  4. Investment in EHC and reduction of communication barriers is cost-effective at all stages of life for the individual, family, society, and governments.
  5. Services for EHC interventions (referred to as the H.E.A.R.I.N.G. interventions) must be integrated within the national health care plans as part of Universal Health Coverage. This refers to:
  • Hearing screening and intervention across the life course;
  • Ear disease prevention and management;
  • Access to technologies;
  • Rehabilitation services;
  • Improved communication;
  • Noise reduction; and
  • Greater community engagement.

The way we address Ear and Hearing Care has changed in the current COVID-19 pandemic. The need to increase the “audibility” of EHC has grown, in order not to leave anyone behind. CBM’s commitment to support our partners and persons with hearing disability can, and should, also proportionally increase. Following the tagline message for the dissemination of the World Report on Hearing: “Hearing Care for all”, let’s walk the talk or, said in EHC terms: “Let’s hear the sound”.
Dr. Diego Santana-Hernández, Senior Global Advisor for Ear and Hearing Care at CBM.

47-year-old Paew from Thailand grew up with a hearing loss. This is her inspiring account of strengthening the rights of persons with disabilities and improving their social participation at local community levels.

Read Paew's personal account here.