First World Report on Hearing calls for action on a hidden public health burden
The Australian Hearing Hub at Macquarie University’s North Ryde Campus has today launched the first ever World Health Organization (WHO) World Report on Hearing.
Macquarie University researchers, in collaboration with members of the Australian Hearing Hub, Australian WHO World Hearing Forum members, and the Hearing Health Sector Alliance are encouraging policy makers and wider society to put the report into action.
The landmark report Hearing Care for All: Screen, Rehabilitate, Communicate aims to raise awareness among policymakers and the public of the rising global prevalence of hearing loss to make ear and hearing care a key public health priority.
The World Report on Hearing estimates that a fifth of people live with hearing loss and it is the third ranked cause of years lived with disability. Hearing loss is expected to increase to impact a quarter of the global population by 2050 with growing and ageing populations.
The cost of hearing loss is high: around $1230 billion dollars is lost globally due to unaddressed hearing loss. In Australia, the cost is about $20 billion, mostly due to lost productivity and health system costs.
The WHO is calling for ear and hearing care to be a priority for policy makers to address with all age groups, with the report providing a framework of how to address key issues.
While Australia is regarded as a world leader in research and the development of implantable hearing solutions and support services for children and adults with hearing loss, there remain significant areas of ear and hearing care need among older adults and Indigenous Australians. Amongst these groups hearing issues are highest but access and uptake of, ear and hearing care remains low.
Professor Catherine McMahon, Director of the HEAR (Hearing Education Application Research) Centre at Macquarie University has worked closely with the WHO and brought the expertise of Australian leaders in this field to the forefront to develop the first World Report on Hearing.
“The WHO Report presents a once in a generation opportunity to bring national and global policy maker attention to the importance of detecting ear disease and hearing loss early and pathways to treatment, by ensuring this is included within national health plans and primary health checks,” says Professor McMahon.
Watch the Australian Launch – World Report on Hearing