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World Hearing Day: the global scenario of hearing disabilities

Orange background. Maya is in the center with her left hand over her ear. Behind her, a yellow circle.

Did you know that every March 3rd the World Hearing Day is celebrated? The date was established by the World Health Organization’s Office (WHO) for the Prevention of Blindness and Deafness. The celebration’s goal is to share information and promote actions to prevent hearing loss and improve its care.

To better understand the dimension of this scenario, we brought some data from the WHO’s last report for World Hearing Day 2021. Let’s check it out? 

Hearing loss around the world

  • Today, there are approximately 466 million people with some form of hearing disability. This represents 6,1% of the global population.
  • By 2050, 900 million people could develop deafness, in other words, doubling the amount of people.
  • A sound level is considered prejudicial for a person when it’s above 85 decibels, during 8 hours per day. It is the same as the sound from intense traffic, for example.
  • Hearing loss, in some cases, can be avoided. For children, 60% of cases can be prevented with immunization actions against rubella and meningitis, and early treatment of inflammatory diseases of the middle ear.
  • Government investments in hearing care are effective and provide good financial returns. For every 1 dollar invested, it is estimated a return of almost 16 dollars.

Tips to take care of your hearing health

Although not every hearing disability is reversible or can be avoided, there are some very valuable tips so you can take care of your health in the best way possible. Sharing this information is vital to help fight desinformation regarding the topic, which is also one of the causes of hearing loss in the world. Check out here some recommendations to take care of your hearing:

  • Use earphones and sound equipments with the volume under half of its capacity.
  • Do not sleep listening to music with earphones.
  • In case you expose yourself to over 8 hours of noise over 85 decibels, use ear protectors.
  • Prefer to be in calm and silent places as much as possible, this way you rest your ears.
  • Consult with healthcare professionals in case you realize you notice hearing loss signals, such as difficulty hearing other people, persistent buzz in your ears, or the need to constantly raise the volume of your electronic devices.

And where does that leave the deaf community?

As we mentioned earlier, not all people can avoid hearing loss, and need to adapt to life with a hearing disability. There are many accessibility resources that help deaf people in their daily lives, such as the use of Sign Languages, having interpreters present during meetings and cultural events, and lip reading. On top of that, nowadays they can count on different assistive technologies, such as subtitles in videos, and automatic Sign Language translators for the web!

These tools contribute to building the deaf culture, which is extremely rich, but not very known or valued. We’ve talked about some curiosities of this community on the blog before, it is worth the read.

Did you already know about these tips? Just like it is vital to have information for us to be able to take good care of our hearing, we also need to think about how to include people with hearing disabilities. However we do this, on this World Hearing Day, we should pay attention to the signs our bodies give us, and take good care of it!

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