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media release

World Hearing Day 2016: hearing loss in children

Staefa, Switzerland, March 1, 2016

This year’s WHO World Hearing Day on March 3 is dedicated to the theme of “Childhood hearing loss: act now, here is how!” One of the key aims of this day is to shed light on the issue of hearing loss in children for parents all over the world. The Hear the World Foundation is supporting the WHO’s initiative with a compelling video, special online content, and an international social media campaign on this topic. Hearing loss among children is an extremely relevant issue, as demonstrated by WHO statistics: More than 32 million children worldwide are affected by moderate to severe hearing loss, and approximately 60 percent of hearing loss in childhood could have been prevented, which makes it all the more vital to take decisive and concerted action on the issue.

The Hear the World Foundation has recognized the relevance of this topic early and is engaged in providing audiological care for children since its foundation in 2006. With a video produced specially for World Hearing Day, the Hear the World Foundation is aiming to raise awareness among as many parents as possible about how important it is for their children to hear well, and to show specific ways in which parents can protect their children’s hearing.

“What many people don’t realize is that good hearing is essential for enabling children to learn to speak and to develop at an appropriate rate for their age,” explains Dr. Jerry Northern, Professor Emeritus at the University of Colorado School of Medicine and Advisory Board Member of the Hear the World Foundation. “It is therefore crucial to inform parents all over the world and offer them concrete support.”

Top tips for parents:

  • Be proactive and ask for a newborn hearing screening: The earlier hearing loss is diagnosed and the children affected are provided with hearing aids, the better chances those children have of achieving their full potential and living a life without restrictions.
  • Have yourself and your child vaccinated: During pregnancy, certain viral infections (e.g. rubella (German measles) or cytomegaly) can lead to fetal hearing loss. Later on, infectious diseases such as meningitis, mumps, or measles can damage hearing in young children. You can protect yourself and your child by getting vaccinated against these conditions.
  • Protect your child from everyday noise: Avoid spending long periods of time in noisy places and ensure that your child wears suitable hearing protection in loud environments. It is also important to make sure that children’s toys are not too loud and to teach your child about the permanent long-term damage noise can have on their hearing.
  • Avoid medication that could damage hearing: There is a range of what are known as ototoxic medications available, which can cause damage to hearing. Find out from your physician what medication can cause ototoxicity and read the package insert before using medication.

60 percent of hearing loss in children can be prevented by taking the right measures. Let’s act now!