More than 360 million people in the world are suffering from hearing loss, a report released by the World Health Organization (WHO) estimated on Wednesday.
In the report prepared for International Ear Care Day on March 3, WHO said one in three persons over the age of 65, or a total of 165 million people worldwide, lives with hearing loss, and another 32 million affected by hearing loss are children under the age of 15.
Shelly Chadha of the WHO’s Department of Prevention of Blindness and Deafness said about half of all cases of hearing loss are easily preventable while many can be treated through early diagnosis and suitable interventions such as surgically implanted hearing devices.
However, she warned that the current production of hearing aids met less than 10 percent of global need.
"In developing countries, fewer than one out of 40 people who need a hearing aid have one," Chadha said.
WHO encouraged countries to develop programs for preventing hearing loss within their primary health care systems including vaccinating children against infectious diseases such as measles, meningitis and mumps.