According to WHO, one in four people worldwide will suffer from hearing loss by 2050. 900 million people will need access to hearing care. People in low-income regions are particularly hard-hit. In 93 percent of these countries, there is less than one audiologist per million inhabitants and about 78 percent of low-income countries have fewer than one ear, nose and throat (ENT) specialist per million people.
In many of our project countries, the early detection and treatment of hearing loss has yet to be integrated into national health care systems. As there is a lack of hearing care professionals, infrastructure and technology in these countries, we seek to create impact by closing these gaps. We were able to screen 68,525 newborns and children for hearing loss, provide 1,757 with hearing aids and support audiological training to 285 advanced professionals. These numbers reflect a significant increase in the number of beneficiaries we have impacted. As part of this investment, we have provided our project partners with CHF 5.4 million in technical, financial and professional support.
Our focus this year has shifted even more towards individual projects that can serve as examples of sustainable impact within their respective countries. This development goes hand in hand with our strategic goal to provide comprehensive access to audiology services along the entire care continuum and to systematically measure outcomes. We aim to continuously increase positive impact and support a growing number of children by building the capabilities of our project partners and supporting them as they work towards hearing care selfsufficiency.
Given the dramatic developments in Europe in 2022 we have, in addition to our regular ongoing and new projects, started an emergency project in Poland, which is close to our heart right now. By the end of 2022, around 16.6 million people had left Ukraine due to the ongoing war, many of them children. Supported by the significant commitment from colleagues of Sonova Audiological Care Poland, these children will receive comprehensive hearing care in Geers stores. This enables them to return to the world of sound, as Katarzyna Trzcinska describes the help she provides as an audiologist to refugee children in Lublin.
President of the Hear the World Foundation