Focus Children

Fundación Pro-Integración (FUNPROI)
Location, timeframe
Panama, 2013

Our support

Professional support: Training of project partnersTechnology: Provision of hearing aids, FM systems, cochlear implantsFunding: Support through funds

Providing audiological care for children in low-income countries is a focal area of the Hear the World Foundation’s activities.

Children with undiagnosed hearing loss have very limited future prospects. This is because children who cannot hear very well have difficulty learning to speak, which restricts their chances of receiving an education and developing at an appropriate rate for their age. To improve the situation for children with hearing loss we use the following approaches:

  • Projects designed to increase newborn hearing screenings and deploy teams of experts
  • Professional training for local staff and provision of adequate tools to ensure adequate diagnosis
  • Providing support for projects that supply children with continuous care and additional speech therapy

From isolation

to integration

A better quality of life and less isolation – this was the goal set out by the Fundación Pro-Integración (FUNPROI) about 20 years ago when it was first established in Panama City. The foundation supports people with hearing loss and motor disabilities.

Hearing screenings for children are mandatory in Panama, but counseling is not available once the hearing loss has been diagnosed. As far as Virginia de Alvarado is concerned, the support they provide should above all be sustainable: “People who contact us should be given long-term help.” In addition to providing audiological and therapeutic assistance, this involves monitoring progress and keeping accurate records..

  • In high-income countries,
    95% of all children
    undergo routine hearing screenings after they are born
  • In low-income countries, however, this generally applies to less than 10%

As part of a pilot project in collaboration with the Hear the World Foundation, 30 children from disadvantaged backgrounds have been provided with digital hearing aids. The outstanding hearing quality offered by these devices has led to clearly noticeable improvements in the children’s speech and learning behavior.

  • The earlier that hearing loss is discovered and treated, the higher the chance of normal development at a rate appropriate for their age

  • Providing children with appropriately fitted hearing aids is especially important

  • Along with continuous care and additional speech therapy

  • At FUNPROI the children learn to speak in a playful way

  • Because the better the children can speak, the higher their chances of successfully completing their school education

  • The outstanding quality offered by the donated devices has led to clearly noticeable improvements in the children’s speech and learning behavior

Christiane Vana, employee of Phonak in São Paulo, had no hesitation in seizing the opportunity, as a volunteer, to help the partnership between Hear the World and FUNPROI get started.

As an audiologist, her work often involves traveling to various places to train hearing care professionals. “Of course, I’m aware that behind all the figures there are human beings receiving help, but direct contact with patients adds a whole new dimension,” she says, explaining her enthusiasm for the project. For her, there is nothing like that moment when a person is suddenly able to hear again thanks to a hearing aid.

  • Focus
    Programs for parents & families
    By supporting self-help groups for parents the Hear the World Foundation makes an important contribution ensuring that affected parents receive specific help and assistance. » Read more
  • Focus
    Prevention of hearing loss
    The Hear the World Foundation globally promotes awareness for the topics of hearing and hearing loss and, thus actively contributes towards the prevention of hearing loss. » Read more
  • Focus
    Professional training
    The Hear the World Foundation supports projects that enable continuous audiological training for professionals on site. » Read more
Learn more about our focus