MADRID, July 9, 2019 - The Alexander Graham Bell Association for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (AG Bell), which was started by Dr. Alexander Graham Bell, best known for inventing the telephone, recently held its first-ever global symposium in Madrid, Spain to address the rising number of childhood hearing loss worldwide. More than 400 hearing health and education professionals from 40 countries gathered to share information on the latest research and findings related to hearing loss and spoken language development, as well as the latest advancements in hearing technology.
Around 466 million people worldwide have disabling hearing loss, including 34 million children, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). However, through early identification, hearing assistive technology, such as cochlear implants and hearing aids, and speech therapy, children born with hearing loss in today’s world can learn to hear and speak.
In many countries, few hearing health and education professionals are qualified to help children with hearing loss learn to hear and talk. However, plans are in the works to change all that. AG Bell, AG Bell International, and the AG Bell Academy are working together to prepare professionals around the world by publishing their world-renowned certification exam in more languages, bringing together professionals from around the world to share knowledge and expertise, and by developing global affiliates and chapters in other countries to address the needs of children who are deaf and hard of hearing right where they live.
“Through this symposium, professionals from around the world had the opportunity to learn from each other and present research regarding practices in their home countries,” said AG Bell CEO Emilio Alonso-Mendoza. “Based on what we have learned from this global gathering, we can now take those findings and continue to help hearing health and education professionals improve outcomes for children who are deaf and hard of hearing that put them on the path to success."