The World Health Organisation estimates that over 360 million people in the world have a ‘disabling degree of hearing impairment’ of whom 32 million are children. The prevalence of disabling hearing loss in children and in adults over 65 years is highest in South Asia, Asia Pacific and Sub-Saharan Africa – and in these developing countries, at least half of that impairment could be prevented or reversed.

Acutely aware of these statistics and of the fact that globally, the issues of preventable deafness and hearing loss were being increasingly overlooked in terms of decisive action and funding (whereas conversely, programmes for Blindness were progressing rapidly and effectively through the IAPB (International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness)), Sir John Wilson along with his wife Lady Jean, founded the Hearing Conservation Council in 1995.

There are 360 million people worldwide with a disabling hearing loss – more than the population of the United States.

They organised a meeting at the Novartis Foundation and invited people from various deafness charities and also clinicians interested in global problems, to discuss their ideas and a Constitution was then drawn up, and the Council was established.

At the heart of our activities was – and still remains – the aim of the prevention of the avoidable causes of hearing impairment and deafness throughout the world.

Today, The Council, with its registered offices in East Sussex, England, is constituted under a Board of Trustees representing some of the main national organisations concerned with hearing science and international development. Together, projects are identified and selected for support, in the conviction that we can make a major contribution internationally to the prevention of avoidable disability.