In many cases, hearing loss is preventable throughout life through effective public health interventions. And when hearing loss is irreversible, it can be treated, the first WHO World Report on Hearing states.
In children, almost 60% of hearing loss is due to causes that can be prevented through measures such as immunisation, improved maternal and neonatal care and screening for, as well as early management of, otitis media.
In adults, legislation on noise control and safe listening and surveillance of ototoxicity can help maintain hearing trajectories and reduce the potential for hearing loss.
The report finds that identification is the first step in addressing hearing loss and related ear diseases. Hearing loss can be addressed through systematic screening to identify hearing loss early in:
- New-born babies and infants
- Pre-school and school-age children
- People exposed to noise or chemicals at work
- People receiving ototoxic medicines
- Older adults
Timely and appropriate care
Timely and appropriate care can ensure that people with ears diseases and hearing loss have the chance to achieve their full potential, the report says. This includes:
- Medicines and surgery
- Hearing aids and hearing implants
- Rehabilitative therapy
- Sign language access
- Hearing assistive technology
- Captioning services
The report can be downloaded here at the WHO website.