March 3 is World Hearing Day: Hearing Care for All

In Hearing Health by Roselynn Gamboa Young, Au.D., CCC-A

Roselynn Gamboa Young, Au.D., CCC-A

The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that there are 466 million people affected by hearing loss worldwide and this number is only expected to rise to 900 million by 2050. Hearing loss is a serious issue, most often irreversible and affecting much more than just ears. The effects of hearing loss can impact emotional, mental and physical health in very serious ways. This is why WHO has named March 3rd as World Hearing Day, to raise awareness around treating hearing loss on a personal and policy level. The theme of 2021’s World Hearing Day is “ Hearing Care for All! Screen, Rehabilitate, Communicate”


Of the 466 million people affected by hearing loss it is estimated that 34 million people are children. This is often due to congenital issues, meaning the hearing issue began before birth. However, many of these cases are due to damage which has occurred after birth. Some of these causes include head trauma, certain medications, and exposure to noise. While the most common cause of hearing loss is caused by old age, more and more young people are being affected by hearing loss, often due to unsafe listening practices. 

Understanding what can put your hearing at risk throughout a lifetime can help people preserve their hearing, significantly bringing down the numbers of people with damaged hearing. However, once a hearing loss occurs, it often cannot be reversed. The best treatment for hearing loss is hearing aids which amplify lost sound, so it is easier to hear. This helps people with a hearing impairment communicate at home and at work with ease eliminating some of the major stressors on mental and physical health. It is often difficult to know if a hearing loss is present, because hearing loss begins subtly. This is why WHO stresses the importance of Screening for Hearing Loss on World Hearing Day – To detect and treat hearing loss before it can become a larger issue.


About 15% of the world’s population suffers from hearing loss, creating serious rifts in communication between friends, family and co-workers. The estimated cost in lost earnings due to untreated hearing loss is $122 billion. This is due to miscommunications at work, affecting co-workers and employers’ ability to rely on a person who has undiagnosed or untreated hearing loss. 

This not only affects earnings and chances for promotions, but a person’s self-esteem. As a person’s confidence is affected due to unaddressed hearing issues it is all too common that people sink into chronic depression which can easily go on for years. Chronic depression can lead an individual to self-isolate, and be underactive, exasperating a host of health risks such as hypertension, cardiovascular disease and diabetes. It is important to understand that your total health is interconnected, so an unaddressed hearing loss can affect many other aspects of well-being.  The important thing is to catch and treat a hearing loss before it can get to this point. The most common treatment for hearing loss is hearing aids which amplify sounds to make it easier for you to reconnect with loved ones and succeed in the workplace. The use of hearing instruments was shown to mitigate the effects of hearing loss by 50%.


The most beautiful thing about investing in your hearing health is that you can communicate with the people in your life that you love with much more ease. While hearing aids will never be a replacement for original hearing ability, they do decrease the gap, connecting family friends and coworkers, as well as making it safer for you as you walk through the world. 

The important thing to remember is that you can never know exactly when you have a hearing loss, and it can come at any time in your life. This is why World Hearing Day strives to improve communication for all by advocating for annual hearing tests for people of all ages. A hearing impairment caught early can improve quality of life, improving not only communication but safety and total health. 

If you suspect you have even a subtle hearing loss, why not use World Hearing Day as an excuse to schedule a hearing test today? There is no time like the present to get on top of a hearing issue so you can continue to grow and thrive in the life you love!