World Hearing Day on the 3 March saw the release of the first World Report on Hearing by the World Health Organisation. Professor Peter Thorne, Director of the Eisdell Moore Centre at the University of Auckland made a substantial contribution to the content contained within this 272 page report alongside approx. 40 other international experts.
The World Report on Hearing is a key outcome of the resolution that was adopted in 2017 by the World Health Assembly (WHA70.13 Prevention of deafness and hearing loss), which acknowledged the growing prevalence and huge impacts of unaddressed hearing loss on individuals and society. It is a call to action for countries to address the burden of hearing loss in communities and deliver “hearing care for all.”
The official launch event for the report in New Zealand, was set to take place at NZ Parliament on 3 March, but unfortunately coincided with lockdown 4.0. However, a virtual event was organised by the National Foundation for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing in its place that was hosted by the Minister of Health, Honourable Andrew Little and the Associate Minister of Disability, Hon. Carmel Sepuloni and was attended by members of the Eisdell Moore Centre. Hon. Andrew Little acknowledged the impact of hearing loss and the importance for an evidence-based approach to treat hearing loss in our communities.
The World Report on Hearing identifies the substantial individual, societal and economic burden from unaddressed hearing loss. Drawing on published data and modelling it provides a platform for policy makers to understand these impacts, awareness of evidence-based solutions along with the current challenges and opportunities to address access to hearing care. Importantly, it provides a range of implementable interventions that can be adopted by countries, such as New Zealand. There are significant challenges, but burden of hearing loss can be addressed by a public health approach and integration of ear and hearing care into health systems.
The World Report on Hearing is a major accomplishment led by Dr Shelly Chadha, the Technical Officer for the prevention of hearing loss and deafness at the World Health Organisation and the World Hearing Forum, which is supported by the WHO and comprises a number of agencies and organisations from around the world. The Eisdell Moore Centre is proud to be a member of this global forum. The report is a long-awaited tool for the essential global advocacy needed to address the burden of hearing loss and deliver on the goal of “hearing care for all”.
To hear more about the work that the Eisdell Moore Centre is doing to provide “Hearing care for all” in Aotearoa and the Pacific region, please attend the SoPH Head of School Seminar series on 1 June 2021: https://www.emcentre.ac.nz/2021/02/15/hearing-care-for-all-accessible-ear-and-hearing-health-services-in-aotearoa-and-pacific-island-countries/