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WHO releases guidance to improve access to hearing care in low-and middle-income settings

The World Health Organization (WHO) has unveiled new technical guidance for hearing aid service delivery in low- and middle-income settings in honour of World Hearing Day on March 3rd. This guidance aims to assist countries lacking resources in establishing hearing aid services by promoting task sharing among specialists and trained non-specialists. Divided into approaches for adults and children aged 5 and above, the guidance offers practical tips on ear care practices, hearing aid usage, and supporting individuals with hearing loss.

Aligned with the 2024 theme, "Changing mindsets: Let’s make ear and hearing care a reality for all," the guidance addresses two key challenges: limited health system capacity and pervasive misconceptions about hearing loss. By utilizing non-specialists, WHO seeks to enhance service capacity and combat stigmatization surrounding hearing loss. Public awareness efforts and engagement of primary health care providers are crucial in dispelling myths and integrating hearing care into primary health systems. WHO is also developing training materials to support the implementation of these approaches.