The World Health Organization (WHO) has acknowledged and praised the efforts that China has made in order to control hearing loss. “If you talk about China, the government and its programs are certainly making a big difference,” said Shelly Chadha from WHO's Department of Prevention of Blindness and Deafness.
Several programs launched
The Chinese government has launched a number of initiatives and programs during the last years, helping both young children and elderly people with their hearing loss.
“The programs focus on children with deafness, but also address the needs of growing children with hearing problems and how to approach the elderly population,” Chadha noted.
For example, China offers free newborn screening, hearing aids and cochlea implants to children younger than six years old from low-income families.
According to Hu Xiangyang, director of China Rehabilitation and Research Center for Deaf Children in Beijing, 400.000 children have benefited from such programs so far.
Free hearing aids for adults
For adults, especially people older than 60, free hearing aids are also available, although the number is limited to about 10,000 a year.
27.8 million Chinese people suffer from loss of hearing and Hu Xiangyang estimates that 11% of people older than 60 have hearing loss, meaning that about 20 million elderly people have moderate to severe hearing problems.