Cochlear welcomes landmark WHO report calling on governments and communities to prioritise hearing health

03 March, 2021

  • First ever dedicated WHO World Report on Hearing launches on World Hearing Day
  • Report reinforces the benefits of hearing implants to help people living with hearing loss
  • Report also identifies hearing health across all ages as a major global public health priority

Sydney, Australia – 3rd March 2021: Cochlear has joined people with hearing loss, worldwide hearing care experts and advocates in welcoming the World Health Organization's (WHO) landmark World Report on Hearing, which urges governments and societies to prioritise hearing health.

The report, titled ‘Hearing care for all – screen, rehabilitate, communicate’ also calls upon member states of the WHO to integrate ear and hearing care into primary health care programs. The report also affirms the importance of access to cochlear implants.

Launched on World Hearing Day (3 March), the WHO’s first ever World Report on Hearing contains a roadmap for governments to adopt hearing screening, treatment and rehabilitation into primary health care systems to help curtail a worldwide rise in hearing loss.

It comes as new WHO figures reveal that globally, 1.5 billion people live with some degree of hearing loss. This includes around 60 million people who live with severe to complete hearing loss1.

In response to the rapidly rising prevalence of hearing loss, the report sets out hearing care policy actions for all societies and age groups, including babies, children and adults. It follows a 2017 World Health Assembly resolution (WHA70.132), which reinforced that hearing loss is a significant public health issue, requiring all governments to make it a higher priority and develop national action plans.

The world’s youngest Nobel Peace Prize Laureate and advocate for education and girls’ equality, Malala Yousafzai, who has experienced hearing loss, opened the WHO report by expressing her hopes for world leaders to work together to implement its recommendations.

“With access to health care, rehabilitation and technology, people with disabling hearing loss can participate equally in education, employment and their communities,” Ms. Yousafzai said.

Dig Howitt, CEO and President of Cochlear said, “The numbers of people living with disabling hearing loss is continuing to rise year-on-year1. This landmark report shows how hearing care leaders and policy makers can step up now to tackle this significant global public health challenge.”

“This report should place hearing loss on the agenda of policy makers so that government and communities can improve hearing care over the coming years through government and societal action.”

“It is significant that the WHO has affirmed evidence supporting the clinical and cost effectiveness of cochlear implants. This important step reinforces the need to make access to cochlear and other implants more accessible to adult and children with disabling hearing loss,” Mr Howitt said.

Cochlear is an active supporter and member of the WHO’s World Hearing Forum, a global network promoting ear and hearing care worldwide. Members of this advocacy network are committed to facilitating implementation of the World Health Assembly resolution WHA70.13 on “Prevention of deafness and hearing loss” and support Member States in this regard.

About Cochlear Limited (ASX: COH)

Cochlear is the global leader in implantable hearing solutions. The company has a global workforce of more than 4,000 people and invests more than AUD$180 million each year in research and development. Products include cochlear implants, bone conduction implants and acoustic implants, which healthcare professionals use to treat a range of moderate to profound types of hearing loss.

Since 1981, Cochlear has provided more than 600,000 implantable devices, helping people of all ages, in more than 180 countries, to hear.

Notes to editors

Entitled ‘Hearing care for all – screen, rehabilitate, communicate’, the World Report on Hearing will provide recommendations on how to improve knowledge and access to hearing care across the world in four sections:

  • Why hearing matters: hearing across the life-course
  • Solutions for everyone: preventing and addressing hearing loss
  • Facing the challenges: improving access to hearing care
  • The vision of hearing care: designing the way forward

The WHO recommends that the following actions can be taken to promote the Report and better hearing health on World Hearing Day:

  • Communities can ensure professionals who are in a position to help (doctors, nurses, social workers, teachers) learn about the Report and increase their knowledge of symptoms of hearing loss to check, diagnose and advise on hearing health treatment options and the pathways to treatment and rehabilitation;
  • Individuals can protect their ears from loud sounds, treat ear infections as soon as possible and get hearing checks.
  • Policy makers can raise the public health priority of ear and hearing care and implement the WHO’s report.

To access the report, click here.

For further information, please contact:
Jennifer Stevenson
Vice President Corporate Communications
Phone: +61294286555


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  1. World Report on Hearing, World Health Organization. WHO: 1 in 4 people projected to have hearing problems by 2050
  2. World Health Assembly, 70. (‎2017)‎. Prevention of deafness and hearing loss. World Health Organization.

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