Information gathered by government surveys and health reports in developed countries generally suggest that around 15% of the population have some hearing loss and would benefit from a hearing aid, but a recent report by the World Health Organisation (WHO) has stated that 5% of the global population experience disabling hearing loss, that’s 360 million people.
To explain the term ‘disabling’ the WHO define hearing loss in 4 categories by the level of dB loss experienced in an adults better ear; mild (up to 40dB), moderate (up to 70db), severe (up to 90dB) and profound (over 91dB). Disabling hearing loss is identified as being over 40dB in the better ear.
For those who aren’t familiar with the magnitude of that statistic, most of the sounds that make human speech fall in to the mild hearing loss category, so disabling hearing loss means that people cannot communicate verbally without a hearing aid and must otherwise learn lip reading or sign language.
The report suggests that most of the causes of disabling hearing loss are medical and preventable, but often not addressed due to available resources, which explains why it is more prevalent in developing countries.
Worryingly, the report reveals that 9% of those experiencing disabling hearing loss are children – that’s 32 million kids under the age of 15.
On a more positive note the report does provide information about an initiative to provide medical resources, training and hearing aids to countries with limited economic means.
View the full report here.