US Representatives Mike Thompson (D-CA) and David McKinley (R-WV) introduced a Congressional resolution on February 25 expressing support for the designation of March 3, 2019, as World Hearing Day by the US House of Representatives. Thompson and McKinley worked with the International Hearing Society (IHS) on the resolution, a reintroduction of the resolution that was first introduced in the 115th Congress, which gained widespread support by hearing-related organizations, the membership association for hearing healthcare professionals announced.

The resolution, H.Res. 147, highlights the critical role hearing ability plays in personal health, relationships, professional success, education, and safety. The resolution also discusses the important role of professional intervention and evaluation through licensed hearing care providers—hearing aid specialists, audiologists, and otolaryngologists, who can recommend and assist with rehabilitation options, which may include medical intervention or the use of assistive hearing technologies like hearing aids. 

Thompson and McKinley serve as co-chairs of the Congressional Hearing Health Caucus (CHHC), a group of members of Congress who have an interest in hearing-related issues and seek to support and grow awareness of the value of hearing loss prevention, identification, and treatment. 

Upon the introduction, Thompson stated, “Hearing health is critical part of the holistic health of every individual in our country. Hearing loss impacts millions of Americans, but is often overlooked. That’s why I am honored to be introducing a resolution designating March 3 as World Hearing Day, so we may recognize the importance of this issue and continue fighting for solutions to ensure overall positive health outcomes for people across our nation.” 

“As Co-Chair of the Hearing Health Caucus and the only member of Congress with a cochlear implant, I know firsthand the challenges people with hearing loss face every day. I’m proud to cosponsor this Resolution,” McKinley said. “World Hearing Day aims to raise awareness about hearing loss and works to increase access to treatment and services for people with hearing loss.” 

IHS President Todd Beyer, ACA, BC-HIS, praised the initiative: “We thank Representatives Thompson and McKinley for raising awareness of the importance of hearing, and hope increased national awareness will help individuals take action to assess their hearing ability and seek assistance as needed.

“This resolution is well-aligned with IHS’ partnership with Hearing Industries Association on its new ‘Hear Well, Stay Vital’ campaign, which encourages individuals to check their hearing annually.”

Founded by the World Hearing Organization (WHO), World Hearing Day is celebrated annually on March 3 by public and private organizations worldwide. This year’s theme, “Check Your Hearing,” is intended to draw attention to the importance of early identification and intervention for hearing loss. According to WHO, around 466 million people across the globe live with disabling hearing loss, and over one billion people aged 12-35 are at risk of hearing loss due to recreational exposure to loud sounds. Further, it cites the global cost of unaddressed hearing loss is $750 billion. 

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Source: International Hearing Society