The facts are daunting.
The World Health Organization reports that hearing loss is one of the most common disabilities globally, yet one of the least recognized and supported.
Gaps in hearing health care and education resources for children with hearing loss are particularly magnified in developing countries. Hearing screening, audiology and early intervention services, and education support are not widely available. Just one in four children in developing countries that need a hearing aid receive one. Much of the developing world provides children who are deaf or hard of hearing with just a secondary level education – if at all.
You cannot see hearing loss. But its effects run deep and touch everything from interpersonal relations to education opportunities and employment potential. The impact of hearing loss on a human life is significant and it also touches society as well. Children with hearing loss who do not receive necessary early support often grow up dependent on the state. In the developing world, this is a financial challenge that is so unnecessary because it can be overcome.
We need to get the word out.
Investment in three key elements would help reverse these facts and pay out dividends in human potential: newborn hearing screening, access to appropriate hearing technology, and the support of trained professionals. With this essential combination early in life, children with hearing loss can grow up to attend regular schools alongside hearing peers, attain broader education and employment opportunities, and have greater opportunity to reach their full potential in their hearing communities. These three elements combined can make a significant difference for thousands of children’s lives – wherever in the world they may live.
Help us spread the news.