World Hearing Day is March 3

Photo credit: Simon Migaj

by Daniel Fink, MD, Chair, The Quiet Coalition

On Sunday, March 3, communities around the globe will celebrate World Hearing Day 2024. The theme, decided by the World Health Organization, is: Changing mindsets: Let’s make ear and hearing care a reality for all. The agency states that the annual event will:

  • Counter common misperceptions and stigmatizing mindsets related to ear and hearing problems in communities and among health care providers.
  • Provide accurate and evidence-based information to change public perception of hearing loss.
  • Call on countries and civil society to address misperceptions and stigmatizing mindsets related to hearing loss, as a crucial step toward ensuring equitable access to ear and hearing care.

WHO goes on to state that “member states, partners and stakeholders in the field are encouraged to organize events to raise awareness in communities, in order to address misconceptions around ear and hearing care and ensure accessible ear and hearing care. Let’s make ear and hearing care a reality for all.”

I don’t think those of us who live in the United States or other G-7 nations understand that as hard as ear and hearing care may be in the United States, it is even more difficult to find in other countries. Some developing nations, even ones with large populations, have few or no ear, nose, and throat physicians or audiologists. Even if hearing health professionals are available, many people who need hearing health care can’t travel to them or can’t afford the care. Hearing aids, even more affordable over-the-counter ones, are far beyond the reach of much of the world’s population, who live on less than $6 a day.

I admire WHO’s efforts to make ear and hearing care a reality for all, but I think the agency could do a better job of educating the world’s population about preventing noise-induced hearing loss by avoiding noise exposure. My proposal for the World Hearing Day theme in 2025 is: Protect your ears from noise damage. If it sounds loud, it’s too loud!

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