Dr Matshidiso Moeti, the World Health Organisation Regional Director for Africa, announced that an estimated 135 million people in Africa have ear and hearing problems. She also expressed concern that the numbers are increasing and that by 2050, over 338 million people could be affected by ear and hearing issues in Africa.
These figures were released in a press statement to commemorate the 2023 World Hearing Day. The burden of ear and hearing problems was found to disproportionately affect marginalised populations, reflecting significant inequalities.
Dr Moeti acknowledged the efforts made by countries to address hearing care, but highlighted several issues affecting patients, including limited access to needed services and a shortage of ear, nose, and throat specialists and audiologists in many countries.
Dr Moeti encouraged governments to prioritize ear and hearing care as part of their noncommunicable diseases and universal healthcare agendas and called for the integration of ear and hearing care services into district health systems and primary healthcare.
She recommended that patients suffering from ear and hearing conditions seek care when needed and that stakeholders increase their campaign, political, and financial commitment to promote hearing screening services and increase the accessibility of hearing aid technology.