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Hearing Care For All! Screen, Rehabilitate, Communicate

Thursday, March 4, 2021   Posted in: Resources and Information By: Administrator With tags: prevention, hearing, awareness

New Zealand Audiological Society media release: 3rd March 2021

The New Zealand Audiological Society (NZAS) welcomes the launch of the World Health Organisation’s World Report on Hearing. This ground-breaking global report highlights the substantial health issue presented by unaddressed hearing loss. Hearing loss has enormous impacts on individuals and communities and has strong correlations with poorer outcomes of education, employment, social isolation and poorer health and mental wellbeing.

Global projections indicate that by 2050 nearly 2.5 billion people around the world will be living with some degree of hearing loss and 700 million of those will require treatment services. At the current rate of prevalence, nearly $1 trillion is lost annually from unaddressed hearing loss.

One key aim of the WHO Sustainable Development Goals for 2030 is that all people with hearing loss and ear diseases have access to high-quality services without experiencing financial hardship.

Find out more about the World Report on Hearing from the World Health Organisation.

In New Zealand over 800,000 people are impacted by hearing loss and currently around two thirds of these people do not access services that could help to manage their hearing loss.

The WHO World Report on Hearing is a timely Call-To-Action as a large proportion of hearing loss is preventable and can be addressed through public health interventions. The New Zealand Audiological Society strongly supports taking a national public health approach to address the impacts of hearing loss in New Zealand.

NZAS President Chessie Egan noted that “a collaborative and national led approach focussed on early identification of hearing loss in adults and children, as well as a strong focus on awareness and prevention of hearing loss are key in addressing the growing impact of hearing loss in New Zealand”.

The NZAS in collaboration with other hearing health sector groups is seeking a partnership with government to promote a public health approach towards hearing health care. Specifically, we would like to see:

  1. Preventable hearing loss as a public health priority.
  2. Prevention of hearing loss through education and public awareness about excessive noise exposure and awareness of ear health.
  3. Development of the evidence-based case for effective nationwide hearing screening as part of whole of life approach health care model.
  4. New funding to support the universal and equitable access to services, technology, and hearing health care.
  5. Greater public awareness of challenges affecting the Deaf and hard of hearing community in New Zealand.