Centennial, Colo. (May 31, 2017) – Cochlear Limited (ASX: COH), the global leader in implantable hearing solutions, welcomed the news that the World Health Assembly (WHA) has supported a resolution that provides a hearing health policy action plan and recognizes the benefits of prevention, intervention and treatment of hearing loss globally.
The WHA, the governing body of the World Health Organization (WHO), which includes senior health leaders from 192 member nations, has reaffirmed that concrete steps must be taken in order to make progress in dealing with the rising prevalence of hearing loss. The resolution reinforces that hearing loss is a significant public health issue, requiring every government to make it a higher priority and develop a national action plan to address it.
The WHO estimates that over 360 million people — over 5 percent of the world’s population — live with disabling hearing loss, 32 million of whom are children.1 With prevalence rates rising, the global cost of unaddressed hearing loss has recently been estimated at $750 billion per year.1
The WHA resolution outlines practical, cost effective steps, starting with awareness, hearing screening programs at key stages of life, and making assistive hearing technologies, such as cochlear implants, more accessible to those who need them.
Tony Manna, Cochlear Americas President, welcomes the leadership of government health policy leaders worldwide.
"The passage of this resolution is wonderful news to share at the conclusion of our Better Hearing and Speech Month #MillionEar Challenge campaign in the United States and Canada,” said Manna. “At Cochlear, we see the impact disabling hearing loss has on people of all ages and their families, but we also get to see those lives transformed when people have access to hearing loss technology."
"This resolution proves what we’ve already known; deafness and hearing loss are a significant global public health issue, and it’s time to act worldwide. We are driven by our mission at Cochlear to improve the lives of people with hearing loss, and as a leader in hearing health, we encourage our partners in the industry to join us in tackling this global health issue."
The resolution sets out a number of critical steps for addressing the impact of deafness and hearing loss, including:
- Raised awareness among decision-makers and the general public about the high prevalence of hearing loss and its social and economic impact
- Improved access to affordable, high-quality assistive hearing technologies and products, including hearing aids and cochlear implants, as part of universal health coverage
- Enhanced screening programs to identify and diagnose ear disease and hearing loss early, with attention placed on infants, young children and older adults
- Raised awareness of noise-induced hearing loss and implementation of measures that address occupational, environmental and recreational exposure to noise
- Better data collection on ear disease and hearing loss to educate and inform policy decision-makers to develop evidence-based strategies
Many causes of hearing loss can be avoided through public health measures. In children alone, it is estimated that 60 percent of hearing loss can be prevented.2
In the United States, there are almost 50 million Americans with hearing loss.3 Additionally, nearly 2 million Americans could be candidates for cochlear implant technology, but only 5 percent of patients who can benefit have been treated.4-5
Cochlear implants are the only proven medical treatment option for those with severe to profound hearing loss. The benefits of cochlear implants are widely acknowledged for children,2,6,7 and cochlear implantation for adults is an effective intervention for a much wider group of candidates than had previously been thought,8 which now includes adults with moderate to profound hearing loss.
About Cochlear Limited (ASX: COH)
Cochlear is the global leader in implantable hearing solutions. The company has a global workforce of 3,000 people and invests more than AUS$100 million a year in research and development. Products include cochlear implants, bone conduction and acoustic implants, which are designed to treat a range of moderate to profound types of hearing loss.
Over 450,000 people of all ages, across more than 100 countries, now hear because of Cochlear.
- World Health Organization. Factsheet No*300 [Internet]. 2017 [cited 10 May 2017]. Available from: http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs300/en/.
- WHO Childhood hearing loss: act now, here is how! 2016 [cited 18 May 2017]. Available from: http://www.who.int/pbd/deafness/world-hearing-day/2016/en/.
- Hearing Health Foundation. Preventing Hearing Loss [Internet]. 2016 [cited 18 May 2017]. Available from: http://hearinghealthfoundation.org/preventing-hearing-loss.
- Blanchfield, B.B., et. al. (2001). The severely to profoundly hearing-impaired population in the United States: Prevalence estimates and demographics. JAAA. 12, 183-189.
- Internal Cochlear Data on File. June, 2009.
- Papsin BC, Gordon KA. Cochlear implants for children with severe-to-profound hearing loss. New England Journal of Medicine. 2007 Dec 6;357(23):2380-7.
- Marschark M, Rhoten C, Fabich M. Effects of cochlear implants on children's reading and academic achievement. Journal of Deaf Studies and Deaf Education. 2007.
- Lamb B, Archbold S. Adult Cochlear Implantation: Evidence and experience, The Case for a Review of Provision. Nottingham: The Ear Foundation. [cited 10 May 2017]. Available from: http://www.earfoundation.org.uk/files/download/667