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October 07, 2013

Many millions have treatable or preventable hearing loss

More than 360 million people worldwide have a hearing loss. About half of these cases could easily be avoided, UN reports show.

Many millions have treatable or preventable hearing loss

According to the United Nations World Health Organization (WHO), more people than ever before have a hearing loss that could either be treated or prevented.

“About half of all cases of hearing loss are easily preventable while many can be treated through early diagnosis and suitable interventions such as surgically-implanted hearing devices,” said Shelly Chadha from WHO's Department of Prevention of Blindness and Deafness.

32 million children affected

With an aging global population, WHO estimates that one-in-three above the age of 65 - which is around 165 million people - live with hearing loss.

Moreover, 32 million of those suffering from hearing loss are children under the age of 15, mainly living in low- and middle-income countries in South Asia, Asia and the Pacific and sub-Saharan Africa. In these areas, many hearing losses could be inhibited if simple ear infections were treated in time.

Other common causes of hearing loss amongst the global population are exposure to excessive noise, injuries to the ear or head, ageing, problems during pregnancy and childbirth, genetic causes and the use of medications that can damage hearing.

Sources: www.un.org and www.unmultimedia.org

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