Forum on hearing loss prevention pushes progress

Updated: 2014-11-18 16:58

By Liu Zhihua(

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China has made great progress in hearing loss prevention and care, but the country still lags far behind developed countries in the field, top experts said during the three-day China Audiology Forum, which wrapped up on Nov 14.

More than 300 hearing care professionals from both home and abroad attended the forum, discussing the development of audiology worldwide and its future in China.

The forum was organized by the China Rehabilitation and Research Center for Deaf Children, an institute under the China Disabled Person’s Federation to help people with hearing loss, and several other facilities, such as the Chinese Journal of Otorhinolaryngology (ear, nose and throat) Head and Neck Surgery.

Han Demin, president of Beijing Tongren Hospital, one of the top hospitals in China with special expertise in ear, nose and throat cases, said it is a pity that audiologists are licensed as a profession in many developed countries, but not in China.

More unfortunate, he said, China has less than 500 audiologists among its population of 1.3 billion, while in the United States there are about 14 audiologists for every 100,000 people.

China has a large population of hearing-loss patients, and quality artificial devices and professionals are needed to help the patients, Han said.

Bradley McPherson, a professor with the University of Hong Kong who has worked as an audiologist for over 30 years, said it is important for any country to carry out audiology education programs to train professionals, though the education model varies based on the situation in each country.

He noted the World Bank identifies China as an upper-middle-income country, but nearly 100 million people in China still have an annual income of less than 2,300 yuan. China is a country in transition from a developing country to a developed one, and audiology education programs in China must meet both middle-class expectations and basic needs in rural areas.

Long Mo, vice president with the China Rehabilitation and Research Center for Deaf Children, said China faces many challenges to meet the increasing health care demand related with hearing impairment and lack of audiology professionals is one of the most pressing issues.