The World Hearing Day is celebrated on March 3 annually to raise awareness, advocacy and action against hearing loss and deafness and to promote hearing care across the globe. The World Hearing Day was started in 2007 by the Office of Prevention of Blindness and Deafness of the World Health Organization (WHO). It was called International Ear Care Day till 2016.
Each year on World Hearing Day a theme is selected around which study material, data and awareness is generated along with a call for global action. This year’s theme is ‘Hearing Care For All’. In keeping with this year’s theme, we share with you why hearing care should be a part of primary healthcare.
Why Hearing Care should be a part of primary healthcare?
According to data released by World Health Organization (WHO), hearing loss and deafness are of two types – one, that can and therefore should be prevented, and second, one that cannot be prevented. For the people falling in the second category, rehabilitation is required.
But are we failing the hearing impaired community? The answer sadly is yes. There is a severe lack of sensitization and proper resources and technology to treat and prevent hearing impairments. According to WHO, “In children, almost 60% of hearing loss can be prevented through measures such as immunization for the prevention of rubella and meningitis, improved maternal and neonatal care, and screening for, and early management of, otitis media – inflammatory diseases of the middle ear.”
Does the disability affect the poor more?
The proper lack of resources is further aggravated by the economic status of the individual and the country he is born in. “Among low-income countries, about 78% have fewer than one ear, nose and throat (ENT) specialist per million population; 93% have fewer than one audiologist per million; only 17% have one or more speech therapist per million, and 50% have one or more teacher for the deaf per million,” states WHO.
It says the situation can be improved by taking action on the matter. “This gap can be closed through the integration of ear and hearing care into primary health care through strategies such as task sharing and training,” states WHO on its official website.
So, this World Hearing Day, let us recognize that communication is a basic human right, which can be facilitated despite hearing impairments if there is a global call for action.