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Hear the World Foundation: CHF 2.57 Million in Sustainable Aid for People in Need with Hearing Loss

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Sonova’s corporate foundation supported 23 projects worldwide in the financial year 2018/19

 Thanks to his new hearing aids, Samuel can finally hear again. His hearing loss was discovered during the Hear the World Foundation’s screening campaign among 31 000 children in Peru.​

Stäfa, Switzerland (May 22nd, 2019) – Switzerland-based Hear the World Foundation continues its success story. In the 2018/19 financial year, Sonova’s non-profit foundation provided 2.57 million Swiss francs in support for people with hearing loss. With this funding, the foundation aided 23 projects worldwide by supplying them with hearing technology, funding and expertise. The spectrum of expertise ranges from hearing loss prevention to audiological care, through to the training of local experts. With its engagement, the Hear the World Foundation improves the future prospects of people in need with hearing loss, and children in particular. 

A world in which everyone gets the chance to have good hearing and can live without limitations: The Hear the World Foundation has already been pursuing this vision for 13 years. “With access to audiological care, hearing solutions and audio-verbal therapy, completely new opportunities are opened up for children with hearing loss,” says Elena Torresani, Director of the Hear the World Foundation, “because hearing is the key to communication, social interaction and education, so it is fundamental to children’s age-appropriate development.”

The figures at a glance: 

  • 23 projects in 19 countries
  • CHF 2.57 million in support via technology, funding and expertise
  • 1,400 hearing solutions professionally calibrated
  • 78 Sonova staff volunteered in the field as expert

From Peru to Vietnam: the highlights of the year 

Due to the shortage of professionals in Peru, with only ten audiologists for 32 million people, very few children have access to hearing tests. This can have serious consequences, because if children cannot hear, they do not learn to talk and have little chance of getting a school education. This is why the Hear the World Foundation, together with the World Wide Hearing Foundation, launched a project in 2016 for the early detection and treatment of children’s hearing loss in Peru.

With the help of Sonova volunteers, who actively provided support in the field and passed on valuable expertise, 31,000 children had already been tested by the end of 2018, of whom 430 were diagnosed with hearing loss and given hearing aids.

One particularly touching moment this year was in Vietnam when three-year-old Tung Lam heard his parents’ voices clearly for the first time. He is one of five children with profound hearing loss who were given cochlear implants (CIs) at the start of the year – paid for by donations collected at the 2017 Hear the World Charity Gala.

In addition to the CIs and the operation, the foundation also covers the costs of long-term audiological follow-up care. For five other Vietnamese children with profound hearing loss, their dream of hearing will come true this August.

German singer-songwriter and Hear the World ambassador Gregor Meyle went to South Africa in July, where he and a team of Sonova staff visited a project run by the foundation in the township Khayelitsha. There, he screened children’s hearing with a newly developed hearing test app. He further supported the project by making music with a group of children during a speech therapy session to demonstrate the speech-language benefits of playful music. “Thanks to committed ambassadors like Gregor Meyle, more members of the public hear about our foundation’s work. So we are very grateful to him and our other celebrity ambassadors,” says Elena Torresani.

Engagement practiced by the whole Sonova Group

Sonova staff are particularly important to Hear the World Foundation: 17 of the projects were professionally supported in the field by 78 volunteers from the company. They provide comprehensive audiological care, but also play a key role in the training of local professionals and even collect donations. “I am very grateful for the immense engagement with which the Sonova staff help people in need with hearing loss,” states Elena Torresani. In turn, the Sonova employees appreciate the opportunity to put their expertise to use for a good cause.

About the Hear the World Foundation
Founded in 2006 by Sonova, the leading provider of hearing solutions, the Hear the World Foundation supports disadvantaged people with hearing loss around the world and gets involved in hearing loss prevention. The foundation focuses particularly on projects for children with hearing loss, enabling them to develop to their fullest potential. Since its establishment, the non-profit Swiss foundation has supported over 90 projects all around the world with funding, hearing aid technology and expertise. More than 100 high-profile ambassadors, such as Bryan Adams, Bruce Springsteen, Cindy Crawford, Annie Lennox, and Sting support Hear the World as ambassadors for conscious hearing. www.hear-the-world.com

More information on what the Hear the World Foundation has been involved in over the past year can be found in the 2018/19 activity report. We will gladly send you a printed version on request.

2019 NIHL Series | 4 advanced-level live webinars | June 5, 12, 19, + 26 | 12:00 pm EDT | Guest Editor: Brian J. Fligor, ScD, PA