Hearing loss continues to be an underestimated topic, although the numbers paint a clear picture: over 630 million people globally are affected by hearing loss, whereby around half the cases would be avoidable by prevention. Around 660,000 children are born with significant hearing loss annually.
A main challenge: 80 per cent of the people with hearing loss live in countries with low to medium income and often have no access to audiological and medical care. Only one in forty people with hearing loss in developing countries wears a hearing aid.
The consequences are serious: specifically in developing countries children with untreated hearing loss have very few prospects for the future, as children who are unable to hear well have problems learning to speak and thus only minimal chances of school education and development in keeping with their age group. This can lead to a hopeless life in poverty and social isolation. Hearing aids as well as audiological and medical care would remedy this. However, access to these remains beyond the grasp of most families.
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The hearing aid manufacturer Phonak, core brand of the Sonova Group, founded the non-profit Hear the World Foundation against this background in 2006. The foundation’s aim is to create a world in which each person has the chance of good hearing. As leading hearing system manufacturer, Sonova sees its social responsibility as the provision of support to needy people with hearing loss and its involvement in prevention of hearing loss and provision of information.
The Hear the World vision is a world in which
Alongside a long-term information campaign, which is directed at the general public as well as experts and opinion makers in the health care sector, the foundation work is the main element of the commitment. The Hear the World Foundation advocates equal opportunities and increased quality of life for people with hearing loss globally. To this end, the Foundation involves itself with financial resources and the provision of hearing aids. Particularly promoted are those projects which support children with hearing loss, in order to allow them to develop in keeping with their age group.