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WHO released “World Report on Hearing”


What is the news?

The World Health Organization(WHO) releases its first-ever World Report on Hearing. This report released on World Hearing Day (observed on 3rd March).

About World Report on Hearing:
  • The report has been developed in response to the World Health Assembly resolution adopted in 2017. The resolution aims to provide guidance for the Member States to integrate ear and hearing care into their national health plans.
  • Purpose: The report presents data on hearing loss. It outlines available cost-effective solutions to prevent hearing loss.
Key Findings of World Report on Hearing:
  • Around 5% of the world population (430 million people) suffers from disabling hearing loss. Further, one-third of people above 65 years of age affected by hearing loss.
  • Nearly 2.5 billion people (1 in 4 people) will be living with some degree of hearing loss by 2050. At least 700 million of these people will require access to ear and hearing care and other rehabilitation services unless governments start preventive actions.
Suggestions by World Report on Hearing

The World Report on Hearing mentions the acronym “H.E.A.R.I.N.G.”. Stands for:

  • Hearing screening and intervention
  • Ear disease prevention and management
  • Access to technologies
  • Rehabilitation services
  • Improved communication
  • Noise reduction and
  • Greater community engagement

The report suggested governments can provide access to quality ear and hearing care to everyone through this “H.E.A.R.I.N.G.” initiative.

India specific findings of World Report on Hearing:
  • Disabling hearing loss has affected 2.9% of the Indian population. Further, hearing loss will affect communication, education and work-related problems for them.
  • Over 27,000 children are born deaf every year in India. This is because hearing impairment or loss is often neglected or in most cases, the diagnosis is delayed.
  • According to a 2018 WHO report, 2% of India’s population, mainly children, suffer from the condition of Otitis Media.
    • Otitis media is an infection in the middle ear. It can occur as a result of a cold, sore throat, or respiratory infection.

Indian initiative towards improving ear and hearing care:

The Indian government is implementing a National Programme for Prevention and Control of Deafness. The salient points about the programme are,

  • Nodal Ministry: It was launched in 2006 by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.
  • Objectives: The program aims:
    • To prevent the avoidable hearing loss on account of disease or injury.
    • Early identification, diagnosis and treatment of ear problems responsible for hearing loss and deafness.
    • To develop institutional capacity for ear care services by providing support for equipment and material and training personnel.
  • Funding: The programme is funded completely by the Government of India.
  • Target: The programme aims to target over 6% of India’s population with Disabling Hearing Loss.

Source: WHO

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