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Hear the World Foundation: Cochlear Implant Project in Vietnam a Success


Capable of speech and socially in​tegrated after one year thanks to holistic funding approach 

Stäfa, Switzerland (July 27, 2020) – Only one year after activation of the cochlear implants (CI) donated to them, the beneficiary children from Vietnam with severe hearing loss can speak and are socially integrated. This result and with it the chance for these children to lead a life without limitations, was achieved by the Swiss Hear the World Foundation and the Global Foundation For Children With Hearing Loss through their joint project. A success that was made possible thanks to a strong partnership and a holistic funding approach.

Just like nine other children from Vietnam, Tung Lam, then aged three, received a cochlear implant a year ago. He previously used hearing aids but his severe hearing loss limited their benefit. After activation of the implant at the children's hospital in Hanoi, he was able to hear the voice of his parents clearly for the first time. It was a moving moment for everyone present. The boy beamed from ear to ear. Finally, he could hear well. But that was only the beginning of his success story. He was not yet able to speak as a typically developing child, which was another aim of the aid project. After activation of his implant, Tung Lam and his parents continued auditory-verbal therapy every week, where he learned to differentiate sounds and to speak – an intensive learning process. 

Language skills and social integration
Today, one year after the activation of his CI, Tung Lam is not only able to speak, he also perceives his surroundings more intensely, participates more in family life – including playing with his brother, which he hardly ever did before – and attends a regular kindergarten. At first, his kindergarten teacher paid particular attention to him in order to integrate him as good as possible. Tung Lam has settled in well and is a happy and popular child. 

The chance to lead a life without limitations 
Only one and a half years earlier, the world looked completely different for Tung Lam and his family. Since his birth, Tung Lam had lived with severe hearing loss. Even the most powerful hearing aids were not sufficient to enable him to hear well. And since there was no health insurance or state support for cochlear implants in Vietnam, and his family could not afford to pay for them, it was clear that Tung Lam would never be able to hear well. He would therefore not learn to speak very clearly and had very little chance of living a life without limitations.

But then a fortunate turn of events meant that the boy was selected as a beneficiary of the HearVietnam aid project along with nine other children. The Hear the World Foundation and the Global Foundation For Children With Hearing Loss entered into a project partnership to provide the full spectrum of services required for a young child with significant hearing loss to learn to listen and speak. The Hear the World Foundation donated the latest cochlear implants to these children, as well as the cost of the associated surgeries, 1 year of auditory-verbal therapy, and 15 years of product support and audiological care.

Project success thanks to a strong partner and a holistic funding approach
The success of the CI project in Vietnam is largely owed to the Hear the World Foundation’s professional and reliable project partner: the Global Foundation For Children With Hearing Loss. This organization prepared and managed the project meticulously on the ground. Among other things, it spent nine years building up the necessary expertise in audiological care and auditory-verbal therapy in the country to guarantee language assistance and audiological follow-up care for the children in addition to the donation of the implants and cost of the surgeries. Thanks to this holistic project approach, the beneficiary children not only had CIs successfully fitted and activated, as well as auditory-verbal therapy enabling them to acquire language skills, but continue to receive audiological care. This will allow them to benefit from the donation in the long term.

About the Hear the World Foundation

The Hear the World Foundation, founded by the Sonova Group in 2006, supports aid projects around the world that benefit children with hearing loss in order to enable them to develop according to their age. The foundation focuses particularly on projects in low- to middle-income countries that give affected children access to audiological care. To this end, the non-profit Swiss foundation provides funding and hearing aid technology as well as on-the-spot expertise for the training and further training of local professionals. For the latter, the foundation is assisted by volunteers – Sonova Group employees. In addition, the foundation has so far been supported by over 100 prominent personalities such as Bryan Adams, Bruce Springsteen, Cindy Crawford, Annie Lennox and Sting as ambassadors for conscious hearing.

About the Global Foundation For Children With Hearing Loss 
The Global Foundation For Children With Hearing Loss is an international nonprofit organization based in the United States. It aims to make a direct and lasting impact on children 0-6 years of age around the world who are deaf or hard of hearing by providing them access to the early identification, hearing technology, trained professionals, and resources they need to learn to listen and talk and achieve their potential. The organization works with partners in low- and middle-income countries to identify gaps in hearing health care and early education support systems. It helps to develop locally-based expertise and services so that professionals in a country are equipped to provide sustainable care to children who are deaf or hard of hearing and their families. The Global Foundation For Children With Hearing Loss currently has programs in Vietnam and Mongolia.


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