World Hearing Day 2021
Every year on 3rd March 2021, World Hearing Day (WHD) is celebrated. The theme for WHD 2021 is “Hearing Care for All!”. On this day, the World Federation of the Deaf says “Let’s Remember to Sign!” because national sign languages are important for everyone!
This year’s World Hearing Day marks the launch of the first ever World Report on Hearing. The World Report has been 4 years in the making. Throughout this process, the WFD has been involved through providing data, research and feedback via numerous meetings with the World Health Organization and other stakeholders.
The WFD has four important takeaways from first-ever World Health Organization's World Report on Hearing.
- Early intervention: Access to sign language at birth is a fundamental human right
- Community involvement: Deaf communities empower deaf children and youth!
- Language and communication: Sign languages should be recognized and integrated into all services throughout life
- A Holistic Approach. Families and Sign Languages: All deaf children and their families must have access to sign languages
Please see more about each message below.
Some key messages from the report are:
- Today 1 in 5 people worldwide live with hearing loss. By 2050, 1 in 4 people are projected to have problems with their hearing.
- The majority of people with hearing loss do not have access to interventions.
- The WHO report says timely and appropriate care can be provided through effective interventions including sign languages and captioning as part of a continuum of care.
- The WHO notes unaddressed hearing loss is expensive to communities worldwide and costs governments USD 980 billion annually. This report makes it clear that sign languages as part of the interventions considered cost-effective. We know sign languages promote effective language development and as such have life-long benefits for all deaf people.
- The World Hearing Report emphasizes community involvement, and as such recommends governments and health systems work closely with the deaf community and their representative organisations.
The WFD is pleased to see the inclusion of sign languages throughout this report. The WFD encourages our members and partners to use this report as a tool for continued advocacy for our fundamental human rights, including the right to freely access and use our national sign language in daily life.