This is contained in a statement signed by Mr Oluseyi Soremekun, UN National Information Officer in Abuja on Friday.
It stated that the information was revealed in a new survey by the global body.
The statement also stated that many countries ,however, lacked the capacity to prevent and care for the ailment.
“WHO estimates that over five per cent of the world’s population , that is 360 million people ,has disabling hearing loss.
“The highest prevalence is found in the Asia Pacific, South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa, it stated.
The organisation, however said that about half of all cases of hearing loss worldwide were easily preventable or treated.
It noted that the leading cause for hearing loss in younger ages, particularly in low and middle income countries, was untreated ear infections.
“Vaccine-preventable infectious diseases such as rubella, meningitis, measles, or mumps can also lead to hearing loss,” the statement noted.
It stated that 32 of the 76 countries that responded to the survey have developed plans and programmes to prevent and control ear diseases and hearing loss.
According to the report, many countries lack trained health personnel, educational facilities, data and national plans to address the needs of those living with ear and hearing problems.
The statement also added that the information received indicated that the gap between need and services was greatest in sub-Saharan Africa.
Dr Etienne Krug, Director of WHO Department of Violence and Injury Prevention and Disability said “the results of this survey are a clear call to action for governments and partners to invest in hearing care especially at community and primary level.
“The programmes must aim to benefit all, including disadvantaged parts of the population who are least able to access hearing services. ”
It noted that prevention and treatment of hearing loss at primary level could prevent many from developing ear and hearing problems.
It added that good ear care practises, such as reducing exposure to noise and avoiding insertion of objects into the ears, can also prevent many from developing ear and hearing problems.
The statement stated that a large percentage of people living with hearing loss can benefit from early identification and appropriate treatment.
It quoted Dr Shelly Chadha, WHO unit for the Prevention of Blindness and Deafness as saying that “screening programmes for infant hearing can minimise the impact of hearing loss on a child’s development.
“Ear and hearing problems and the use of hearing aids are often associated with myths and misconceptions.
“National programmes should therefore not only focus on prevention and service provision but also on awareness raising. ”
It noted that the national plans that already exist in some countries can serve as a model for countries that still lack strategies to better address disabling hearing loss.
It, however, stated that each country needed to develop a unique plan based on its specific situation, the prevalent causes of hearing loss as well as the available health infrastructure.