Deafness: burden, prevention and control in India

Natl Med J India. 2009 Mar-Apr;22(2):79-81.


The high burden of deafness globally and in India is largely preventable and avoidable. According to the 2005 estimates of WHO, 278 million people have disabling hearing impairment. The prevalence of deafness in Southeast Asia ranges from 4.6% to 8.8%. In India, 63 million people (6.3%) suffer from significant auditory loss. Nationwide disability surveys have estimated hearing loss to be the second most common cause of disability. A lack of skilled manpower and human resources make this problem a huge challenge. The Government of India has launched the National Programme for Prevention and Control of Deafness. This article highlights the major components of the programme with a focus on manpower development and ear service provision including rehabilitation. Since the programme is also being implemented at the primary healthcare level, it envisages a reduction in the burden of deafness and prevention of future hearing loss in India.

MeSH terms

  • Cost of Illness
  • Deafness / epidemiology
  • Deafness / prevention & control*
  • Early Diagnosis
  • Health Promotion
  • Humans
  • India / epidemiology
  • Primary Health Care