Dr Shelly Chadha, Dr Karen Reyes - World Health Organization
‘Hearing for life: don’t let hearing loss limit you’, is the theme for World Hearing Day 2020. Annually observed on 3 March, World Hearing Day is the largest global advocacy campaign to raise awareness on ear and hearing care issues established by WHO.
Previous World Hearing Day campaigns have raised awareness on prevention, impact and early identification of hearing loss. Further to these, this years’ campaign will focus on rehabilitation and empowerment of persons with hearing loss. A range of effective interventions are possible to address hearing loss, including hearing devices, such as hearing aids and cochlear implants; rehabilitation therapy, sign language learning and captioning among others. Timely access to such effective interventions can ensure that people with hearing loss are able to achieve their full potential.
This year campaign will target policymakers in order to sensitise them to the range of available hearing interventions as well as the gap in access to these. The purpose of such sensitisation is to promote development of suitable policies for improving access to a range of interventions. The campaign will also target the public at large by informing them of how hearing loss can be effectively addressed, as a means for improving awareness on this issue and motivating them to seek services or to demand these, where none exist.
The campaigns’ advocacy materials will be available in the six UN official languages (Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Spanish and Russian). The announcement is available in the same six languages and can be provided in an editable format, upon request. Thanks to actions of the World Hearing Forum, advocacy materials will also be available in Hindi, Portuguese, Bengali, Turkish, Swahili and Georgian. A toolkit for planning of the World Hearing Day is also available, which provides a practical framework for any person or organisation interested in observing the day.
Over the last few years, the World Hearing Day campaign has spread to all regions of the world. In 2019, it was observed in 80 countries of the world. To keep the momentum, the World Health Organization’s ear and hearing programme calls on all partners as well as policy-makers, academic institutions, private sector and other stakeholders to come together and join this effort to increase public awareness, stimulate political commitment and spur global action on ear and hearing care.