466 million people suffer from hearing loss-W.H.O.
London, March 3, 2019 (AltAfrica)-Around 466 million people worldwide have disabling hearing loss, the World Health Organization says, warning that the figure may double by 2050.
The agency released the statistics as the world commemorates the World Hearing Day, held on 3 March each year, to raise awareness on how to prevent deafness and hearing loss.
To help in the fight against hearing loss, WHO launched a new mobile and web-based app called “hearWHO,” which allows people to check their hearing regularly, and intervene early in case of hearing loss. It can also be used by health workers to screen people in the community, and refer them for diagnostic testing if they fail the screening.
The app allows users enter a series of three numbers when prompted. These numbers have been recorded against varying levels of background sound, simulating listening conditions in everyday life. The app displays the user’s score, and its meaning, and stores the outcome of the test so that the user can monitor hearing status over time.
Symptoms indicating the onset of hearing loss include a ringing sensation in the ear, known as tinnitus; frequently missing parts of a conversation; or a tendency to increase the volume of television, radio or audio devices.
In a statement released by WHO, Dr. Shelly Chadha, Technical Officer of the organization, said that “once lost, hearing does not come back. Through World Hearing Day, and with the support of this app, we encourage people to ‘Check your hearing!’ in order to help preserve this valuable gift that helps us to enjoy life.”