In many African nations, the general awareness of hearing impairment is low and shortage of resources has caused a lack of screening programmes.
The WHO estimates in its 2021 World Report on Hearing that in the WHO region of Africa 136 million people have some degree of hearing loss and that 39.9 million or 3.6 % have a moderate or higher grade of hearing loss. By 2050, 332 million people in Africa will have some degree of hearing loss.
Investigations into hearing loss in various countries do not always provide fair comparisons because of differences in standards and methods used. Results may also vary based on the number of people in each study, the study methodology and variations in accepted definitions of hearing loss. The articles in these pages provide an overall view of the prevalence of hearing loss in various countries. Most of the surveys deal with hearing loss in children.
Hearing loss in children
In many African countries there is an overrepresentation of children with hearing loss, due to ear infections, lack of hygiene and lack of treatment.
Many children aged between 5 and 14 years suffer from moderate to severe hearing loss in both ears in the sub-Saharan countries. General prevalence studies show higher rates of severe to profound hearing loss in this part of Africa than in other developing countries.