Deafness is one of those disabilities which affects millions of people around the world. Because it’s invisible, most of the ones who don’t have it are not aware of its effects and the ways it can impact one’s life.
According to the World Health Organization, the vast majority of those who suffer from disabling hearing loss live in low-income and middle-income countries. As a result they often don’t have access to proper hearing care solutions.
Of course, without suitable services and interventions, people suffering from this disability can struggle. This issue could be addressed through public health measures. If they can receive rehabilitation, education, and empowerment, they can live a significantly improved life and reach their potential.
In order to better understand the effects of suffering from disabling hearing loss and, more importantly, get an idea of how spread it is among the worldwide population, let’s take a look at some facts and figures gathered by the World Health Organization.
How many people are affected?
Right now, there are 466 million people in the world suffering from disabling hearing loss, out of which 34 million are children. This means that over 5% of the world’s population is affected, and without proper action taken, these figures are going to further increase.
The numbers translated to reality show us that up to 5 out of every 1000 children are born with hearing loss or acquire it soon after birth. Without proper, prompt and suitable interventions they might face issues in their development and education.
Chronic ear infections are a leading cause in hearing loss. Over 30% of the cases encountered among children have initially developed by not having this condition treated in due time.
Globally, an estimated 330 million people suffer from either a chronic ear infection or chronic otitis, so it’s easy to see why this is a leading cause. When left untreated, this condition can lead to serious consequences or even death.
Age is, of course, another factor which can contribute to developing hearing loss. However, this cause can be effectively managed through a wider range of solutions. For example, those who have lower incomes can look for affordable hearing aids. If left untreated, seniors can feel excluded from communication, thus generating feelings of loneliness and frustration.
Of course, sign language can be of great help when you want to communicate with a deaf person, but there are actually different ones across the globe. Some examples include the British one, American, and Japanese.
Another cause which is quite an obvious one – loud noises. These can appear under different circumstances, such as the working environment, or entertainment choices made by young people. Of course, these risks are largely preventable by getting informed and following the legislation or safe listening practices.