Introduction: This paper attempts to review changes in the lives of hearing-impaired patients within the developing world, brought about by globalisation and development. The paper also explores limitations to improved care and addresses the collective moral responsibility of developed nations. Methods: Analysis of literature. Results:Within developing nations, large populations have emerged with a similar pattern of problems, access to information and aspirations as those living in developed nations. However, marked differences in income have persisted. These trends have resulted in a relative increase in the proportion of the hearing-impaired population in need of cochlear implantation, while at the same time restricting their access to such treatment. Conclusions: The emergence of global markets and media and a shared sense of destiny amongst the people of this planet should translate into a concerted, worldwide effort to assist the deaf in developing countries. Much more can be done within existing resources and frameworks to improve the quality of these peoples’ lives.