DeafKidz International World Hearing Day Event at House of Lords

On 1st March I attended a reception hosted by Lord Bruce of Bennachie in advance of the World Health Organisations (WHO) World Hearing Day 2017. The reception bought together stakeholders involved in hearing health globally and we heard speakers from DeadKidz International, the Royal College of physicians, the Hearing Conservation Council and the International Centre for Evidence in disability all discuss the great issue of hearing loss globally;  the impact on children and adults globally on communication, education, social and work life; the stigma attached to hearing loss; the lack of research into hearing loss and it’s impacts; the lack of money and resource going into supporting people with hearing loss and preventing it, and the extremely awful truth that children are often subjected to physical, mental, sexual abuse, neglect and exploitation within in some countries because they have hearing loss.

Lord Bates, DFID Minister said “No Deaf child would be left behind” and Tom Watson MP committed to support the work of DeafKidz International.

Photo courtesy of DeafKidz International

The WHO estimates that 60% of childhood hearing loss is preventable and the same message was repeated throughout the reception that ‘a little can go a long way’ in making a difference to people with hearing loss and preventing people from getting hearing loss. The numbers are staggering with an estimated 360 million people worldwide with hearing loss (WHO), which is set to increase with the ageing population and if nothing is done to prevent people from getting hearing loss; the clear majority of people with hearing loss live in low to middle income countries where there is little or no support for hearing loss or interventions to prevent hearing loss.

The real positive thing out of all of this, is that there really are a lot of dedicated individuals within the Government and from the charity and healthcare sector and we have started to have some important discussions. I have planned to meet with the Founder of DeafKidz International Steve Crump and The International Centre for Evidence in Disability (London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine), so that we can learn more about each other’s work and discuss how we might work together.

 

Gemma Twitchen

(Chair of Global Outreach Specialist Interest Group)