Prevention of blindness and deafness

International Ear Care Day: 3 March 2014

The International Ear Care Day aims to raise awareness and promote ear and hearing care across the world. This year the theme for the International Ear Care Day was Ear Care Can Avoid Hearing Loss. To mark this day, WHO undertook a global campaign focussed on healthy ear care practices at all ages. Member States and WHO collaborating centres were involved in commemoration of the 2014 International Ear Care Day. Click here to read activity report.

WHO estimates that there are 360 million persons in the world with disabling hearing loss (5.3% of the world’s population). At least half of all cases of hearing loss are avoidable through primary prevention, including healthy ear care practices. In order to raise awareness on this issue, the International Ear Care Day is observed on 3 March every year. This year, the theme for the day is Ear care can avoid hearing loss.

A number of activities were carried out on this day, which includes:

  • Press briefing
  • Hearing Screening at WHO headquarters
  • Launch of the “Multi-Country Assessment of National Capacity to Provide Hearing Care” report
  • Internet Campaign
    • WHO internet and intranet
    • Social media
  • Country offices, collaborating centres and Member States:
  • Links to Ear Care Day news and publications

Click here for detailed activity report of International Ear Care Day 2014.

Materials developed for this day are available at:

Poster in:

Banner in:

Ear care flyer

History of International Ear Care Day

This date was selected due to the shape of the numbers 3.3, being representative of the two ears. In 2007, the China Rehabilitation Research Center for Deaf Children (CRRCDC), Beijing, China Disabled Persons’ Federation (CDPF) and WHO jointly hosted the First International Conference on Prevention and Rehabilitation of Hearing Impairment in Beijing. This was attended by the then WHO Assistant Director-General responsible for Noncommunicable Diseases, including Hearing Impairment, Dr Catherine Le Gales-Camus, and high-level dignitaries from China.

A key output of this conference was the "Beijing Declaration" (Annex 2) which included the following prominent recommendation: Establish “International Ear Care Day”. For further promoting global actions on hearing care, and minimizing occurrence of hearing impairment, we seriously propose to recognize the day of 3 March as “International Ear Care Day.” Every year, “International Ear Care Day” would address a specific theme and carry out an extensive range of activities with a wide multi-sector participation in order to raise awareness of hearing care and prevention of hearing loss.

Subsequently, this day is being increasingly observed by various organizations, such as Sound Hearing 2030, CBM, Hearing Conservation Council and countries, such as Bangladesh and Indonesia.

In 2012 and 2013, WHO endorsed this day through a media campaign involving WHO website, Facebook and Twitter. Last year, new WHO estimates on prevalence of hearing loss were released through a press briefing and a lunchtime seminar was organized on the relevant theme.