International Ear Care Day: 3 March 2014
WHO estimates that there are 360 million persons in the world with disabling hearing loss (5.3% of the world’s population). At least half of all cases of hearing loss are avoidable through primary prevention, including healthy ear care practices. In order to raise awareness on this issue, the International Ear Care Day is observed on 3 March every year. This year, the theme for the day is Ear care can avoid hearing loss.
WHO has identified a need for Member States to develop plans and programmes integrating prevention and management of hearing loss into the primary health care system of countries. In pursuit of this, WHO seeks to promote primary ear and hearing care as a strategy for prevention of hearing loss.
A number of activities are planned for this day at the WHO headquarters, which include:
- Launch of report on Multi-Country Assessment of National Capacity to provide hearing care on 3 March 2014, in Salle B at WHO HQ in Geneva, Switzerland;
- Hearing screening for WHO staff and their families at the WHO HQ;
- Campaign on social media, including:
Many countries, across the world, will be observing this day though community-based events and activities.
Materials developed for this day are available at:
Ear care flyer
History of International Ear Care Day
This date was selected due to the shape of the numbers 3.3, being representative of the two ears. In 2007, the China Rehabilitation Research Center for Deaf Children (CRRCDC), Beijing, China Disabled Persons’ Federation (CDPF) and WHO jointly hosted the First International Conference on Prevention and Rehabilitation of Hearing Impairment in Beijing. This was attended by the then WHO Assistant Director-General responsible for Noncommunicable Diseases, including Hearing Impairment, Dr Catherine Le Gales-Camus, and high-level dignitaries from China.
A key output of this conference was the "Beijing Declaration" (Annex 2) which included the following prominent recommendation: Establish “International Ear Care Day”. For further promoting global actions on hearing care, and minimizing occurrence of hearing impairment, we seriously propose to recognize the day of 3 March as “International Ear Care Day.” Every year, “International Ear Care Day” would address a specific theme and carry out an extensive range of activities with a wide multi-sector participation in order to raise awareness of hearing care and prevention of hearing loss.
Subsequently, this day is being increasingly observed by various organizations, such as Sound Hearing 2030, CBM, Hearing Conservation Council and countries, such as Bangladesh and Indonesia.
In 2012 and 2013, WHO endorsed this day through a media campaign involving WHO website, Facebook and Twitter. Last year, new WHO estimates on prevalence of hearing loss were released through a press briefing and a lunchtime seminar was organized on the relevant theme.