A long-standing champion of World Hearing Day, ASHA uses the opportunity to spread relevant public health messages and provide members with the tools to educate consumers.
The World Health Organization (WHO) organizes World Hearing Day, recognized annually on March 3. Each year the WHO creates a new theme and offers specialized resources, published in a dozen languages, and hosts activities at its Geneva headquarters and around the world.
Dovetailing on the WHO themes—this year it’s “Hearing for Life”—ASHA generates national campaigns and tools to help spread the message.
ASHA and HLAA provide member tools
ASHA recently partnered with the Hearing Loss Association of America (HLAA) on a series of educational materials for consumers and professionals. Take advantage of these resources in our 2020 World Hearing Day Digital Toolkit.
Based on the “Hearing for Life” theme, materials focus on a lifespan approach to hearing health. Key points in ASHA/HLAA’s tools include:
- At all life stages, you can protect your hearing.
- At all life stages, you can experience hearing loss.
- At all life stages, early intervention and timely treatment for hearing loss can improve not only your quality of life, but often overall health as well.
In honor of World Hearing Day, you can share these on your social media accounts, feature them on your website or blog, and use them as part of a lobby display in your workplace. For even wider outreach, print and distribute them at a health fair, community event, local senior center or medical complex—with your website or business card attached.
Hearing loss worldwide
Even among an informed professional audience, the scope of hearing loss can be shocking, making statistics worth mentioning. According to WHO, 466 million people worldwide have disabling hearing loss, at an annual cost of 750 billion U.S. dollars. That figure includes health (excluding the cost of hearing devices), educational, productivity, and societal costs.
In the United States, approximately 48 million Americans have some degree of hearing loss, the third most common chronic physical condition.
World Hearing Day is a time to emphasize this information, along with the available solutions. WHO offers several key points:
- At all life stages, communication and good hearing health connect us to each other, our communities, and the world.
- For those who have hearing loss, appropriate and timely interventions can facilitate access to education, employment, and communication.
- Globally, there is lack of access to interventions to address hearing loss, such as hearing aids.
- Early intervention should be made available through the health systems
ASHA members are ideally suited to deliver these messages in their communities, and ASHA is make it easier for members to do so. You can contribute to the larger public good and health—and also position yourself as an expert in the field, promote your services, and potentially lead to new opportunities in the form of media interviews, speaking engagements, and more.
Public outreach—for World Hearing Day or otherwise—can take many forms with varying degrees of effort.
These include sharing of social media materials (from ASHA or otherwise) on your accounts, to reaching out to your local newspaper/television station to encourage them to write/air a story, to hosting a screening, open house, or other event. Consider taking part this year, in ways big or small. For tips on engaging the media as an ASHA member, check out ASHA’s media guide resource.
Francine Pierson is an ASHA public relations manager. firstname.lastname@example.org