World Hearing Day 2024 will focus on overcoming the challenges posed by societal misperceptions and stigmatizing mindsets through awareness-raising and information-sharing, targeted at the public and health care providers.

Key messages:

Globally, over 80% of ear and hearing care needs remain unmet.

Unaddressed hearing loss poses an annual cost of nearly US$1 trillion globally.

Deeply ingrained societal misperceptions and stigmatizing mindsets are key factors that limit efforts for preventing and addressing hearing loss.

Changing mindsets related to ear and hearing care is crucial to improving access and mitigating the cost of unaddressed hearing loss.

World Hearing Day 2024 will be observed with the following objectives:

Counter the common misperceptions and stigmatizing mindsets related to ear and hearing problems in communities and among health care providers.

Provide accurate and evidence-based information to change public perceptions of hearing loss.

Call on countries and civil society to address misperceptions and stigmatizing mindsets related to hearing loss, as a crucial step towards ensuring equitable access to ear and hearing care.

Member States, partners and stakeholders in the field are encouraged to organize events to raise awareness in communities, in order to address misconceptions around ear and hearing care and ensure accessible ear and hearing care.

Source: World Health Organisation

You can read further about the important work of the World Health Organisation with the follwing link

Tips from Hearsmart for communicationg with people with a hearing loss.

If you are speaking to a person with hearing loss, there are some simple steps to help improve communication, whether they wear a hearing aid or not.

Get the person’s attention before starting a conversation

Before starting a conversation, say the person’s name or touch them gently on the arm or shoulder, if appropriate.

Reduce background noise

Reduce any background noise or try to find a quieter place to have a conversation. For example, turn off or move away from the television, radio, or otherwise noisy environment.

Rephrase instead of repeat

If you are having trouble being understood, try rephrasing what you have said in another way, rather than repeating it.

Face the person

Make sure the person can see your face without any obstructions. For example, don’t cover your mouth while speaking. Many people use lip reading to help understand what is being said.

Speak slowly and clearly

Speak clearly and distinctly and if necessary, a little slower than usual. There is no need to shout.

Reduce the distance

The farther you are from someone, the harder it is to hear. Move closer if you are far away or in another room.

Ask the person what helps them

If you regularly speak with someone that has a hearing loss, ask what works best for them. Try to accommodate those needs in future conversations.

Tips from Hearsmart for communicationg when you have a hearing loss. 

Be assertive

If you feel comfortable, let people know you have trouble hearing and tell them the best way to talk to you.

Reduce background noise

Reduce background noise or find a quieter place to have a conversation. Turn off or move away from the television, radio or other noise sources.

Use context

If you are having trouble understanding, try to focus on the theme of the conversation. You can fill in missed words more easily if you understand the general context. You can also ask them to confirm you have understood correctly. For example, “you said your new niece’s name is Lisa, is that correct?”

Face the person

Make sure you can see the other person’s face during a conversation. We understand visual cues from facial expressions and how different sounds look on people’s lips when spoken. We can use these cues to help us figure out what a word might be if we miss it.

Ask for clarification

Ask the person to clarify what you missed, rather than repeat the information. For example, “I’m sorry, I missed where you said you were going on Sunday afternoon?”

Rephrase instead of repeat

Ask the person to rephrase what they are saying. For example, “I keep missing that last part about your new car, could you please try saying it a different way for me?”

Be kind to yourself

There will be times when you don’t hear well no matter what you try— this is an expected part of hearing loss. If you are tired or unwell, you’ll likely find it more difficult.

Develop your own strategies

Hearing loss affects people in different ways. It is important to work out what works for you. It can help to try and think outside the box. For example, can you ask the person to write down what they have said?

Seek help

Remember that if you are experiencing hearing loss, you can get help.

Book a hearing assessment at HearSmart.

We are the only independently-owned local hearing service provider to the Yarra Valley providing hearing, balance, tinnitus assessment and solutions. We help people of all ages with their hearing needs.

Let’s make ear and hearing care a reality for all!