Globally more than 1.5 billion people experience some degree of hearing loss. Of these, an estimated 430 million have hearing loss of moderate or higher severity in the better hearing ear.
In the WHO Region of the Americas, around 217 million people live with hearing loss i.e., 21.52% of the population. It is expected that by 2050, this number could rise to 322 million. The majority of people with hearing loss do not have access to interventions. Unaddressed hearing loss has a far reaching impact on lives of those effected and their families. At a societal level, it poses an annual cost of $262 million in the region. Hence, urgent action is needed to prevent and address hearing loss in order to mitigate its adverse impact at all stages of life. An individual’s hearing trajectory throughout the life course determines their hearing capacity at any point in time.
What is meant by ear and hearing care
The term ear and hearing care refers to all interventions required to prevent, identify, and treat hearing loss and related ear diseases. It includes rehabilitation and support for people with hearing loss.
PAHO calls for action at country level by Member Sates / PAHO recommends Member States to integrate people-centered ear and hearing care within national health plans for universal health coverage and strengthen health system delivery at all levels of care of hearing.
To facilitate this integration, the World Report on Hearing (WRH) has been developed (in response to the 2017 World Health Assembly resolution (WHA70.13) on hearing loss, as a means of providing guidance for Member States to integrate ear and hearing care into their national health plans.