World Hearing Day is always a big occasion for Nuheara. As a pioneering company in the hearables space, we’ve seen first hand the immense impact that hearing health challenges can have on peoples’ lives.
As such, we’re always 100% supportive of anything that helps people become more aware of the impact and importance of the hearing health issues facing the world today. The unfortunate truth is that they’re much more serious and widespread than most people might think.
World Hearing Day 2022
The WHO theme for World Hearing Day on the 3rd of March, 2022 is “To hear for life, listen with care!” and will focus on the importance of safe listening as a means of maintaining good hearing across the course of a person’s life. The key messages for this year include:
- ‘Safe listening’ can mitigate the risk of hearing loss associated with recreational sound exposure.
- It is possible to have good hearing across the life course of your whole life with good ear and hearing care.
- Many common causes of hearing loss can be prevented, including hearing loss caused by exposure to loud sounds.
As part of this campaign, the WHO is calling on governments, industry partners and civil society to raise awareness and implement evidence-based standards that promote safe listening.
They have also released a global standard for safe listening entertainment venues and a SafeListening handbook as a means of providing some practical resources that their target groups – entertainment venues and those that attend them (especially young adults) – can use to encourage safe listening and prevent hearing health issues in later life.
If you want to join the conversation this World Hearing Day, use the official hashtags #safelistening #worldhearingday and #hearingcare.
Why Is Hearing Health So Important?
With so many significant issues vying for our attention these days, it can be easy to overlook the scale and importance of hearing health on a global scale.
According to WHO data published in 2021:
- Over 5% of the world’s population – 430 million people – currently require rehabilitation to address their ‘disabling’ hearing loss.
- By 2050 nearly 2.5 billion people are projected to have some degree of hearing loss and at least 700 million will require rehabilitation.
- Over 1 billion young adults are at risk of permanent, avoidable hearing loss due to unsafe listening practices
The Impact Of Unaddressed Hearing Loss
While hearing loss might not seem as severe as other types of disability, the truth of the matter is that if left unaddressed, hearing loss has the potential to have some major impacts on both an individual and societal level.
On the individual scale, untreated hearing loss can negatively affect cognition, hinder education and employment prospects and lead to social isolation, loneliness and social stigma.
On a more macro level, WHO estimates that unaddressed hearing loss represents an annual global cost of USD $980 billion. This includes things such as health sector costs, costs associated with educational support, loss of productivity and societal costs.
In addition to this, 57% of these costs are attributed to low and middle-income countries who often lack the financial and institutional resources to tackle the problem.
Focusing On Today as Well as Tomorrow
We think that it’s fantastic that WHO has decided to draw attention to the ways in which people can minimize their chances of experiencing preventable hearing loss later in life. Prevention is an extremely important tool in our arsenal if we’re ever going to properly address our hearing health challenges on a global scale.
However, we also believe that there is a lot more that needs to be done to help people who are currently living with hearing & auditory processing challenges. Even in a wealthy society like the U.S.A, the Hearing Loss Association of America estimates that approximately 48 million Americans have some degree of hearing loss, but only 1 in 5 people who would benefit from hearing assistance actually receive it.
They also estimate that people with hearing loss wait an average of 7 years before seeking help. That’s a long time to endure the negative impacts of hearing loss that we discussed earlier in this post. It’s clear that something needs to change.
Technology, Affordability & Accessibility
We’ve always believed that there is a better way to help people manage their hearing challenges and have used a combination of technology and innovation to help them live fuller, more engaged lives.
As we approach the release of our over-the-counter hearing aid, we’re excited about taking the next major step in this journey.
Last year’s WHO World Report on Hearing envisioned “a world in which no individual experiences hearing loss to preventable causes, and those with hearing loss can achieve their full potential through rehabilitation, education and empowerment.”
By pioneering the hearables category and striving to make hearing assistance technology more accessible and affordable than ever before, Nuheara is making a valuable contribution to helping that vision become a reality.