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Statement of A. Lynn Williams, PhD, CCC-SLP, 2021 President of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA), on the Release of the World Report on Hearing

March 3, 2021

“ASHA applauds the World Health Organization for its groundbreaking publication of the first-ever World Report on Hearing. Its release is a watershed moment for the reported 1.5 billion—and rising—people worldwide who are living with hearing loss.

Beyond the impact of hearing loss on individual lives, which is already far more significant than is generally understood and appreciated, the report underscores the costs of untreated hearing loss to society as a whole—as well as the convincing need for and societal benefits of addressing this growing public health crisis.

More than anything, the report rightfully raises hearing loss in the public and policy realms as the serious health condition that it is. This achievement is important for several reasons.

Hearing loss can affect nearly every aspect of a person’s life, from their physical health and safety to their cognitive and mental health. It can also significantly impact communication, learning, educational, and career outcomes and can affect personal relationships and overall satisfaction and quality of life.

Investing in solutions that prevent hearing loss across the lifespan—and make treatment accessible and affordable for all—should be a priority for governments and societies around the world, including here in the United States. It is critical that this report receives wide and serious attention so that it fosters change that elevates how hearing health is viewed and prioritized. That is why we spotlight it today, on World Hearing Day; refer to it in our national outreach related to the observance; and will continue to highlight it for the foreseeable future.”

World Report on Hearing

ASHA World Hearing Day Information

About the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA)
ASHA is the national professional, scientific, and credentialing association for 218,000 members and affiliates who are audiologists; speech-language pathologists; speech, language, and hearing scientists; audiology and speech-language pathology support personnel; and students. Audiologists specialize in preventing and assessing hearing and balance disorders as well as providing audiologic treatment, including hearing aids. Speech-language pathologists identify, assess, and treat speech and language problems, including swallowing disorders.

ASHA Corporate Partners