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World Hearing Day is held on 3 March each year to raise awareness on how to prevent deafness and hearing loss and promote ear and hearing care across the world. Gateway takes the opportunity to raise awareness during the entire month of March.
Around 466 million people worldwide have disabling hearing loss (1), and 34 million of these are children.
It is estimated that by 2050 over 900 million people will have disabling hearing loss.
Hearing loss may result from genetic causes, complications at birth, certain infectious diseases, chronic ear infections, the use of particular drugs, exposure to excessive noise, and ageing.
60% of childhood hearing loss is due to preventable causes.
1.1 billion young people (aged between 12–35 years) are at risk of hearing loss due to exposure to noise in recreational settings.
Unaddressed hearing loss poses an annual global cost of US$ 750 billion. Interventions to prevent, identify and address hearing loss are cost-effective and can bring great benefit to individuals.
People with hearing loss benefit from early identification; use of hearing aids, cochlear implants and other assistive devices; captioning and sign language; and other forms of educational and social support.
Current estimates suggest an 83% gap in hearing aid need and use, i.e., only 17% of those who could benefit from use of a hearing aid actually use one.