About the Project

Hearing loss has an emotional, functional, and social impact in society, causing a decrease in economic productivity. The annual cost of unaddressed hearing loss is within the range of $750–790 billion, globally. From this cost, the loss of productivity, due to unemployment and premature retirement among people with hearing loss, has an estimated cost of $105 billion annually. WHO’s projections on this matter, contemplate that the number of people who are likely to have a disabling hearing loss could rise from 466 million, in the year 2018, to 933 million in the year 2050. Furthermore, WHO estimates that 1.1 billion of the young population are at risk of hearing loss due to recreational noise exposure. Hearing loss from noise exposure is not recoverable, but it is preventable, hence the importance of this project. The prevention and treatment of hearing loss increase a person’s chance of employment and their earning potential. The investment in preventive hearing health provides equal opportunities between individuals, allowing economies to grow and improve social welfare. For these reasons, Chile is currently working on this Project.

The overarching goal of the project is to promote APEC members to share learned lessons about early prevention of auditory damage in young people due to recreational noise exposure and raise awareness in policymakers on strategies, policies, protocols, and regulations for designing and implementing programs and policies to prevent hearing damage due to noise exposure.

With this in mind, we organized a 4-day duration Symposium. At first, we proposed a face to face symposium, but due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the symposium had to assume a virtual modality.

The symposium program includes oral presentations of expert speakers, sharing the real-world lessons and insights they have collected by doing research and doing it a thousand times. It also includes a collaborative remote workshop based on using design thinking techniques. Finally, it finishes with a road map, where it is expected that the symposium participants agree on specific and tangible strategic actions that will encourage collaboration among the different participant economies.

This project's results are a 4-day virtual symposium about early hearing loss prevention in young people with a final report that will systematize the experience and the knowledge built from the symposium.

The output of this symposium shall help APEC's developing economies to strengthen their health systems, offering them the knowledge and the tools to prevent hearing problems from exposure to recreational noise, throughout the following points:

1) Participants will be raising awareness about the impact of hearing loss from recreational noise in APEC economies. They will better understand how to prevent this by using strategic actions on hearing damage caused by young people's recreational noise exposure.

2) APEC economies will have increased their capacity to create strategic actions related to hearing education, change risky hearing habits, and increase the use of hearing protection. The final report will be available for download for all APEC economies and others interested. It is expected that this will be used as a manual when formulating policy guidelines as well as searching for the best solutions that could be applied in the prevention of early hearing damage from recreational noise.

3) Government representatives (policymakers), universities, academia, experts, and professionals on the field from APEC economies are expected to adopt agreements to further collaborate among APEC economies in the "early prevention of hearing damage in young people".

Road Map of the project:

For more information about the project, visit: