March 3, 2016 is World Hearing Day, an initiative led by the World Health Organization (WHO) to raise awareness about the impact of hearing loss. MED-EL, a provider of hearing implant systems, is supporting World Hearing Day with the launch of a new video, “Through the Ears of a Child.”
The WHO estimates that around 360 million people (or approximately 5% of the world’s population) live with disabling hearing loss; of these, nearly 32 million are children. This year’s theme “Childhood hearing loss: act now, here is how!” aims at raising awareness about public health strategies that help to reduce the prevalence and impact of hearing loss in children.
The video from MED-EL highlights the potential advantages of treating childhood deafness or hearing loss at an early age, when children are first exploring the world around them and learning to engage with their peers. The video is also being backed by HEARRING, the global network of hearing implant experts.
“The focus of this year’s World Hearing Day on children strongly supports our HEARRING vision that early identification and intervention through implantation can help children with severe hearing loss,” said Paul Van de Heyning, chair of the Scientific Committee at HEARRING. “Treating children with hearing loss early gives them a better chance of reaching their full developmental potential. Together as health professionals, we must work globally to reach as many children as possible and restore the gift of hearing to them.”
The “Through the Ears of a Child” video brings to life the different ways that young children experience the world when they are struggling with hearing loss, and how their life can be transformed when their hearing becomes restored.
Research shows that children, whose hearing is profoundly impaired before they learn to speak, are more likely to benefit from treatment with a hearing implant if it is given at a young age. These children start to receive auditory information at a time when their brain is especially ready to learn language. Therefore, their hearing and speech has an opportunity to develop in a manner similar to that of their normal hearing peers.
View the special video from MED-EL here to learn more about the ways in which childhood hearing loss may be prevented and treated.