World Hearing day

Smørum, Denmark,
3 maart 2016

“If your baby wears hearing aids only four hours each day, it will take six years to give him as much listening experience as a normally hearing infant accumulates in one year.”

Hearing well is crucial for any child’s development. A child with an untreated hearing loss will experience difficulties learning to speak or to read. The World Health Organisation (WHO) World Hearing Day on March 3 focuses on childhood hearing loss and how important it is to identify it early in a child’s life. Oticon and the Oticon Foundation support WHO’s message of acting now on childhood hearing loss and is committed to creating a better future for every child with hearing loss. That is also why The Oticon Foundation is supporting several children hearing loss projects around the world.

“When parents realise that their child suffers from a hearing loss it is a shock,” says Heine Højvang Andersen, Sr. Director Power & Paediatrics, Oticon. “They worry what this will mean to their child’s upbringing and life. Hearing loss is serious as it makes it more difficult for the child to learn language and the many other things they need to learn as they grow. It is critical that childhood hearing loss is identified as early as possible. At Oticon, we have worked for more than 100 years to make the life of every child with a hearing loss better and we are excited that WHO takes up this important message to act on childhood hearing loss – and act now. We act on it every day and are proud to help children with hearing loss around the world.”

To develop spoken language skills, a child needs access to as much speech as possible. If a child suffers from an untreated hearing loss language development will often be delayed. Not only is it difficult to learn a language, children with untreated hearing loss also need to concentrate much more than a child with normal hearing. This means that they spend an excessive amount of mental or cognitive resources during a day, resources that they could have spent on learning new things.

In Vietnam, more than 180,000 children suffer from hearing loss. However, many of these children don’t have access to the right help and treatment. One of many projects that The Oticon Foundation sponsors is one in Vietnam run by The Global Foundation for Children with Hearing Loss. This non-profit organisation works to secure better conditions for children with hearing loss in Vietnam. Children are now able to receive appropriate hearing aids. Training is offered to their teachers and parents. To date, 38 schools have joined the Global Foundation’s training program in Vietnam. Work continues to reach more schools and through them, benefit more children with hearing loss.

Speech understanding happens in the brain. The ears receive sounds and send them to the brain and it’s the brain that processes these sounds to give us meaning. Any child’s brain is ready to be stimulated by sounds. The neural networks in the brain are especially sensitive to stimulation during the first three and a half years. The more sound children hear during these first years, the better their language, speech and social skills will develop. The earlier the hearing loss is discovered and treatment starts, the better. This is why WHO’s message of early intervention is so important.

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Childhood hearing loss: why it’s so important to discover and treat it early #hearingloss #audpeeps @OticonUSA @WHO

More information

About Oticon
500 million people worldwide suffer from hearing loss. The majority are over the age of 50 while eight percent are under the age of 18. It is Oticon's ambition that our customers - hearing clinics throughout the world - prefer to use our products for people with impaired hearing. Through passion, dedication and professional expertise, Oticon develops and manufactures hearing aids for both adults and children. Oticon supports every kind of hearing loss from mild to severe and we pride ourselves on developing some of the most innovative hearing aids in the market. Headquartered out of Denmark, we are a global company and part of William Demant Holding Group with more than 11,000 employees and revenues of over DKK 10 billion.

Read more why hearing is important to a child’s development. Find Oticon on Facebook

About the Oticon Foundation
Founded in 1957, the Oticon Foundation sponsors social and educational programs, publications, conferences, cultural activities and campaigns - both for researchers, hearing care professionals and the general public. The Foundation's statutes mandate that income be used to support the needs of hearing-impaired individuals as well as organizations that serve people with hearing loss. Income is derived through the Foundation's ownership of the majority of shares in the Oticon Company.

For more information, please contact:
Katrine Hertz Østergaard, PR & Communications Director, Oticon; email:, phone: + 45 20 95 25 30

1 Stovall, D. [1982]. Teaching Speech to Hearing Impaired Infants and Children. Springfield, IL: Charles C. Thomas