Careful consideration of health disparities in conjunction with policy reform is necessary to address how hearing loss disproportionately affects low-income communities.

Few people think about hearing until they start to lose it or observe the effects of hearing loss in a friend or family member. Fewer still think about how hearing loss disproportionately affects individuals in low-income communities and low- to middle-income countries due to a lack of access to early diagnosis and affordable hearing devices. These impediments are often exacerbated by cultural stigma that may be associated with a hearing disability.

As a member of the World Health Organization’s World Hearing Forum, we partner with industry leaders and policy advocates to find effective solutions to bring greater equity to the field of hearing health—as always, on a local and global scale. Our involvement includes collaboration with the Make Listening Safe taskforce, which aims to ensure no one’s hearing is jeopardized by unsafe listening practices. From generating national hearing health curricula for young students, to working with entertainment venues and smartphone phone manufacturers to implement a global standard for safe decibel levels, the taskforce’s strategy comprehensively targets key stakeholders.

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