Ear and hearing care


Disabling hearing loss refers to hearing loss greater than 40 decibels (dB) in the better-hearing ear in adults and a hearing loss greater than 30 dB in the better-hearing ear in children. The majority of people with disabling hearing loss live in low- and middle-income countries.

WHO estimates that approximately 15% of the world’s adult population experiences some degree of hearing loss. WHO estimates that 1.1 billion young people worldwide are at risk of hearing loss from unsafe listening practices. This includes exposure to loud sounds on personal audio devices and in noisy entertainment venues.

The WHO programme for ear and hearing care works towards the vision of a world in which no one experiences hearing loss from preventable causes, and those with unavoidable hearing loss can achieve their full potential through appropriate interventions, education and empowerment. It aims to promote the integration of ear and hearing care within the primary health care systems of Member States.