In March 2021, the World Health Organization launched the first-ever World Report on Hearing, which outlines a public health approach to making (ear and) hearing care accessible for all.

Launched as part of the 2021 World Hearing Day campaign on March 3, the report demonstrates the growing need for hearing care globally and explains why this should be a public health priority. The report was developed as a means of defining the direction of global ear and hearing care and providing a strong basis for country action.

The World Report on Hearing showcases the possibilities in this field and dives into the challenges which limit its progress, along with possible ways to address these. It then outlines the way forward through integration of people-centered (ear and) hearing care within national plans for universal health coverage. It proposes a package of H.E.A.R.I.N.G. interventions that must be prioritized and delivered through strengthened health systems.

Learn more about the report by watching this SAC World Hearing Day webcast, where three Canadian audiology experts discuss the findings.

Most recently, SAC held a webinar on May 4 which presented the vision of hearing care for all elaborated in this report. Speakers representing the government sector, professional groups and civil society outlined their views on their roles in this collaborative effort. Watch this webcast (free for SAC members and associates).

The World Report on Hearing addresses the following:

  • The number of people living with unaddressed hearing loss and ear diseases is unacceptable.
  • Timely action is needed to prevent and address hearing loss across the life course.
  • Investing in cost effective interventions will benefit people with hearing loss and bring financial gains to the society.
  • Countries must integrate people-centered ear and hearing care within national health plans for universal health coverage.

The report also calls for integration of the H.E.A.R.I.N.G. set of interventions into national health care plans.

Hearing screening and early intervention programs targeting:

  • Newborn and infant screening
  • Preschool- and school- ear and hearing checks
  • Hearing screening for older adults
  • People exposed to noise or ototoxic chemicals/medicines

Ear disease prevention and management through:

  • Good ear and hearing care practices
  • Identification at community level through trained workforce
  • Medical treatment
  • Ear surgery

Access to affordable, high-quality technologies and related services such as:

  • Hearing aids
  • Cochlear implants
  • Assistive technologies e.g. loop systems

Rehabilitation services that are:

  • Age-appropriate
  • Multi-disciplinary
  • Family-centered

Improved communication through:

  • Sign language learning
  • Sign language interpretation
  • Captioning services

Noise reduction through regulations for:

  • Occupational hearing conservation
  • Safe listening entertainment venues
  • Safe listening smartphones and audio players

Greater community engagement through:

  • Communication campaigns
  • Strengthening associations of hard of hearing and Deaf
  • Multi-sectoral collaboration to address stigma

Learn more about the World Report on Hearing through our March 3 webcast and May 4 webcast.