Yet, data illustrating the size of the problem is hard to come by because of the lack of resources in the health sector in third world countries and the nature of hearing loss, which is often viewed as a hidden disability.
The WHO estimates in its 2021 World Report on Hearing that in the WHO region of South-East Asia 401 million people have some degree of hearing loss and that 109.4 million or 5.5% have a moderate or higher grade of hearing loss. By 2050, 666 million people in South-East Asia will have some degree of hearing loss.
In the WHO region of Western-Pacific, the WHO estimates that 546 million people have some degree of hearing loss and that 136.5 million or 7.1% have a moderate or higher grade of hearing loss. By 2050, 776 million people in the Western-Pacific Area will have some degree of hearing loss.
- 20 million Chinese suffer from hearing loss, according to data released in 2008 by the China Disabled Persons' Federation (CDPF). 20 million is the number of recorded instances by CDPF. The actual number of hearing impaired Chinese is likely to much higher. According to CDPF, 43 percent of hearing impaired Chinese cannot afford hearing aids.
- A study has found that 15% of the Philippine population has a moderate or worse hearing loss. This means that nearly one in six in the Philippines has serious hearing problems.
- In Thailand, data indicates that approximately 13.5 percent of the population suffer from hearing loss.
- In rural Pakistan one child in 12 is suffering from hearing loss.
Eastern Mediterranean Area
The WHO estimates in its 2021 World Report on Hearing that in the WHO region of Eastern Mediterranean 78 million people have some degree of hearing loss and that 22.1 million or 3.1% have a moderate or higher grade of hearing loss. By 2050, 194 million people in the Eastern Mediterranean Area will have some degree of hearing loss.
In many less developed areas of countries such as Malaysia, India and Pakistan the knowledge and awareness of hearing loss is low. Surveys from India, Thailand and Pakistan indicate that hearing loss among children is more wide-spread in rural areas because of the prevalence of dangerous infectious diseases.
In China, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia, some of the hearing loss may be caused by genetic defects related to marriages between close relatives.