by Daniel Fink, MD, Chair, The Quiet Coalition
According to the World Health Organization, hearing loss is a major problem in much of the world but few of the world’s total population can afford hearing care or hearing aids of any kind.
The World Bank estimates that 700 million people live on less than $2 a day. Daily life is a struggle. Providing food is a struggle. Preventing hearing loss is not even considered, and there are no resources to treat even profound hearing loss. Many African countries lack a single audiologist or ENT specialist.
My own observation during international travel, back in the old days when that was possible for someone holding an American passport, is that many developing countries–Myanmar and India come to mind–were much noisier than the U.S. or Europe. Unmuffled car motors are repurposed to power boats, and workers in noisy occupations like blacksmithing or metal work don’t use hearing protection.
Into the gap come the engineers from Georgia Tech, who have developed a low-cost hearing aid that can be assembled quickly. They call this LocHAid.
In the industrialized world, people don’t want a large hearing aid worn around the neck, but in developing countries, this would be a blessing.
Dr. Daniel Fink is a leading noise activist based in the Los Angeles area. He is the founding chair of The Quiet Coalition, an organization of science, health, and legal professionals concerned about the impacts of noise on health, environment, learning, productivity, and quality of life in America. Dr Fink also is the interim chair of Quiet Communities’ Health Advisory Council, and he served on the board of the American Tinnitus Association from 2015-2018.