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March 3, 2024, World Hearing Day

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March 3, 2024, World Hearing Day

March 3rd is celebrated World Hearing dayWorld Hearing Day, an event involving over 100 countries around the world, to draw governments’ attention to the importance of hearing.

The message launched by the World Health Organization (WHO) for the 2024 edition of the Day is “Changing Mindsets: Let’s make ear and hearing care a reality for all”(Change mentality: let’s make ear and hearing care a reality for everyone). Change is critical to improving access to care and mitigating the cost of unaddressed hearing loss.

The main objective that WHO will try to achieve this year is to overcome society’s misperceptions and stigmatizing mentality through raising awareness and sharing information, aimed at the public and health professionals.

WHO data

By 2050, more than 700 million people worldwide – 1 in 10 – will have disabling hearing loss and around one in four people will experience some form of hearing loss. Additionally, more than 1 billion young adults are at risk of permanent and avoidable hearing loss due to unsafe listening practices.

Hearing loss in Italy

In Italy there are approximately 7 million people with hearing problems, corresponding to 12.1% of the population with hearing loss, with a significant differentiation between age groups and a significant increase with age. Approximately 25% of people aged between 61 and 80 and 50% of those over 80 have disabling hearing loss, with repercussions on cognitive abilities and social inclusion. The greatest increase is found not only in the class of those over eighty, but also in the intermediate age class, from 46 to 60 years, the one most exposed to environmental risks (+9.8% against +7.7%) (Source : Census)

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Recognizing hearing loss is the first step towards the solution and, considering that intervening promptly makes the result effective, it is important to rely on the advice of your trusted doctor and carry out periodic audiological checks. In this regard, the role of health professionals is strategic for the possibility of informing and raising awareness among adults and the elderly on the value of preventive audiological checks and any effective corrective intervention, in order to intercept problems in time and counteract the risk of disability and social isolation.

A hearing deficit, if not identified and corrected, can be responsible for important consequences and negatively influence language development and psychophysical well-being, right from the early stages of life.

In fact, the WHO considers the secondary prevention of deafness, carried out through the introduction of neonatal screening programmes, to be the key to drastically reducing the disabling effects of the most frequent congenital sensorineural pathologies at birth.

Currently, in industrialized countries, the permanent hearing impairment is found in approx 1-2 in 1000 newborns undergo screening tests at birth. The number of permanent hearing defects increases with age with a prevalence of 2-3 per thousand at 5 years of age and 3-4 per thousand in adolescence.

Recent scientific evidence has highlighted that over 95% of newborns received a hearing screening in Italy in 2017, usually before discharge from the birth centre. In our country the art. 38 of the Prime Ministerial Decree of 12 January 2017 defining the Essential Levels of Assistance (LEA) guarantees the screening neonatal hearing to all newborns (source: ISTISAN Report 22/17 Newborn auditory and visual screening: recommendations).

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Initiatives for the Day 2024

For the celebration of the Day 2024 the organization Udito Italia Onlus – Nonno Listen to me! promoted, with the patronage of the Ministry of Health, the creation of an awareness event on the prevention of hearing disorders. Udito Italia is a member of the WHF – World Hearing Forum – body established by WHO with the aim of establishing a global alliance for the promotion of hearing health in the world.

The initiatives will take place in Rome on 29 and 1 March 2024, at the Sala della Regina, in Montecitorio.

The experts gathered on March 1st will participate in the debate dedicated to the central theme proposed by the WHO for WHD “Changing Mindsets: Let’s make ear and hearing care a reality for all”.

The debate will be anticipated on February 29th by the works of the Focus Groupworking groups focused on defining concrete actions to support the “A New Alliance for Hearing” Manifesto.

Laws the program of the day.

To know more

Consult the news from the National Prevention Plan

Go to complete archive of news

Consult the thematic areas: National plan for prevention and health of children and adolescents

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