Hearing Loss Around the World

iStock_000003138140_SmallThe World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that more than 5% of the World’s population (360 million) has disabling hearing loss. Latin American and the Caribbean account for 9% of global hearing loss, but the highest prevalence is found in the Asia Pacific, South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa. About half of all cases of hearing loss worldwide are easily prevented or treated.

Untreated ear infections, particularly among children, are the leading cause of hearing loss in low-to-middle income countries. Vaccine-preventable infectious diseases such as rubella, meningitis, measles, or mumps also lead to hearing loss in these areas.

80% of deaf people live in low and middle-income countries. Childhood deafness is a significant global issue, affecting more than 62 million children younger than 15 years old – two-thirds of whom reside in developing countries.

Many countries lack trained health personnel, educational facilities, data and national plans to address the needs of those living with ear and hearing problems. The gap between need and services is greatest in sub-Saharan Africa.

According to the Department of Prevention of Blindness and Deafness at WHO, fewer than one out of 40 people in developing countries who need a hearing aid have one.

WHO estimates that through immunizations, early identification and intervention programs, access to hearing aids and other medical treatments, over 50% of the burden of hearing loss in developing countries could be reduced or eliminated.

ReSound has donated hearing aids to a number of missions both domestically and internationally in countries that need help with treating hearing loss, particularly among children. Some of our recent missions include Guatemala City, Antigua (Guatemala), Malawi (Africa) and Honduras.

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