In 2021, the World Health Organization released its World Report on Hearing that highlighted an increasing number of people worldwide living with and at risk of hearing loss. In honor of World Hearing Day on March 3, below is a breakdown of the report by the numbers.
According to the study, in the United States alone, more than 30 million people are exposed to hazardous noise at their workplace. While the information surrounding workplace noise levels is concerning, data in the same report shows that effective mitigation strategies can help preserve the hearing of workers regularly exposed to high levels of noise.
An analysis of a hearing conservation program in the US military showed that mitigation efforts like education about the dangers of sustained high noise levels as well as proper protective equipment and instruction on their use, can reduce the chances of workplace-related hearing loss by up to 28%.
The report also highlighted the difficulty in accessing hearing aids. According to the report, only 17% of those who could benefit from the use of hearing aids wear them. Issues ranging from healthcare availability to affording hearing aids, as well as stigma about hearing loss, count among some of the biggest contributing factors in their lack of use.
While the report details strategies for prioritizing safe hearing, as well as methods of making healthcare accessible to those in remote locations, it also notes building accessibility into daily life for those who are deaf or hard of hearing should not be an afterthought.
According to the report, hearing loss affects 20% of the global population and that number is expected to increase. Consequently, accessibility solutions like captions and transcripts make sure content can reach up to 20% more people.
While we at VITAC firmly believe captioning is the right thing to do, and know that in many cases it’s also the law, the WHO’s numbers in black and white also demonstrate that it’s the way forward. Whether you’re filming the next blockbuster, broadcasting a town hall event, or recording a new podcast, the chance to have that many more audience members adds up to a 100% win.