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March 1, 2016
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March 3, 2016

WHO: 60% of childhood hearing loss is preventable

childhood hearing loss World Hearing Day

Everyone has a different hearing loss story. Some people were born with hearing loss, others lost it with age, and others may have lost their hearing in more dramatic situations, such as sickness or accidents. 

There are nearly 32 million children worldwide with disabling hearing loss, according to the World Health Organization. But more than half of those children have a hearing loss that could have been prevented, they claim.

A new WHO report, titled “Childhood hearing loss: act now, here’s how,” estimates that “40% is attributable to genetic causes; 31% to infections such as measles, mumps, rubella and meningitis; and 17% to complications at birth, including prematurity, low birth weight and neonatal jaundice. In addition, an estimated 4% results from expectant mothers and newborns unknowingly using medicines that are harmful to hearing.”


To prevent childhood hearing loss, the WHO recommends:

  • immunizing children against preventable diseases
  • regulating certain medicines
  • protecting children against dangerous noise levels

The WHO also aims to mitigate the impact of hearing loss, by:

  • early identification, such as hearing screening for infants and children
  • raising public awareness about ear and hearing care
  • reducing the stigma around the use of hearing devices
  • strengthening organizations of people with hearing loss and their families

“What many people don’t realize is that good hearing is essential for enabling children to learn to speak and to develop at an appropriate rate for their age,” said Dr. Jerry Northern, Professor Emeritus at the University of Colorado School of Medicine and Advisory Board Member of the Hear the World Foundation. “It is therefore crucial to inform parents all over the world and offer them concrete support.”

Tomorrow is World Hearing Day! Spread the word about ways to prevent childhood hearing loss and help break down the stigmas of hearing loss across all generations.

Are you a parent of a child with hearing loss? Learn more about hearing loss and how you can be an advocate for your child, and how hearing aids can help. 


Join Hear the World Foundation on Twitter (@hear_the_world)  as they share 33 ways to prevent childhood hearing loss for #WorldHearingDay.

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