Lone Tree, Colo. (March 3, 2021) —Cochlear has joined people with hearing loss, hearing care experts and advocates in welcoming the World Health Organization’s (WHO) landmark World Report on Hearing, which calls upon governments and societies to prioritize hearing health.
The report, titled “Hearing care for all – screen, rehabilitate, communicate,” also calls upon member states of the WHO to integrate ear and hearing care into primary health care programs. The report affirms the effectiveness and cost effectiveness of cochlear implants.
Launched on World Hearing Day (March 3), the WHO’s first ever World Report on Hearing contains a roadmap for governments to adopt hearing screening, treatment and rehabilitation into primary health care systems to help curtail a worldwide rise in hearing loss.
It comes as new WHO figures reveal that globally, 1.5 billion people live with some degree of hearing loss. This includes around 60 million people who live with severe to complete hearing loss.1
In response to the rapidly rising prevalence of hearing loss, the report sets out hearing care actions for all societies and age groups, including babies, children and adults. It follows a 2017 World Health Assembly resolution (WHA70.132), which reinforced that hearing loss is a significant public health issue, requiring all governments to make it a higher priority and develop national action plans.
The world’s youngest Nobel Peace Prize Laureate and advocate for education and girls’ equality, Malala Yousafzai, who has experienced hearing loss, opened the WHO report by expressing her hopes for world leaders to work together to implement its recommendations.
“With access to health care, rehabilitation and technology, people with disabling hearing loss can participate equally in education, employment and their communities,” Yousafzai said.
Dig Howitt, CEO and President of Cochlear said, “The numbers of people living with disabling hearing loss is continuing to rise year-on-year. This landmark report shows how hearing care leaders and policy makers can step up now to tackle this significant global public health challenge.
“This report should place hearing loss on the agenda of policy makers so that government and communities can improve hearing care over the coming years through government and societal action.”
“It is significant that the WHO has affirmed evidence supporting the clinical and cost effectiveness of cochlear implants. This important step reinforces the need to make access to cochlear and other implants more accessible to adult and children with disabling hearing loss,” Howitt said.
Cochlear is an active supporter and member of the WHO’s World Hearing Forum, a global network promoting ear and hearing care worldwide. Members of this advocacy network are committed to facilitating implementation of the World Health Assembly resolution WHA70.13 on “Prevention of deafness and hearing loss” and support Member States in this regard.
“For years, research has shown hearing loss is a sizable public health issue including in the United States and Canada, and over the last year, the pandemic has only amplified that impact,” said Patricia Trautwein, MA, AuD, Vice President, Market Access & Reimbursement, Cochlear Americas. “More people–aging adults, parents, caretakers of loved ones–need to be educated about and have access to the full continuum of hearing solutions, which includes hearing implants. We applaud the WHO’s commitment to hearing health, and Cochlear will continue our work on the prioritization of hearing health, including hearing loss prevention, screening and monitoring for all ages, ensuring those who need a referral for hearing implant technology are getting them as soon as they qualify and securing access to proper ongoing rehabilitation and care.”
About Cochlear Limited (ASX: COH)
Cochlear is the global leader in implantable hearing solutions. The company has a global workforce of more than 4,000 people and invests more than AUD$180 million each year in research and development. Products include cochlear implants, bone conduction implants and acoustic implants, which healthcare professionals use to treat a range of moderate to profound types of hearing loss.
Since 1981, Cochlear has provided more than 600,000 implantable devices, helping people of all ages, in more than 180 countries, to hear. www.cochlear.com/us
- World Report on Hearing, World Health Organization. WHO: 1 in 4 people projected to have hearing problems by 2050
- World Health Assembly, 70. (2017). Prevention of deafness and hearing loss. World Health Organization. https://apps.who.int/iris/handle/10665/275682