The Hear the World Foundation is an official Healthy Hearing sponsor and partner of the Special Olympics. In the context of this partnership, the Hear the World Foundation also supports the World Winter Games in Pyeongchang, Republic of South Korea.

Between January 29 and February 5 2013, 2100 athletes from 107 nations will gather to compete in seven Olympic winter sports such as alpine skiing, cross-country skiing, figure skating, snowboarding, speed skating and other. 

Almost a quarter of the participating athletes at Special Olympics are affected by hearing loss. Many of them do not wear a hearing instrument, because they cannot afford one and they do not have access to the necessary medical and audiological care in their home countries. The Special Olympics Healthy Hearing Program tackle this problem head on by offering the athletes comprehensive hearing screenings. This service is offered as part of the larger, multidisciplinary Healthy Athletes program, aimed at ensuring access to quality health services for all participating athletes. In Pyeongchang, the Hear the World Foundation supports this program by providing expertise on site by qualified employees from the local Phonak subsidiary, donating high-quality Phonak hearing instruments and organizing free follow-up care in the athletes’ respective home countries.

“We are extremely proud and honored to work with such a well-known and highly regarded organization,” said Dr. Timothy Shriver, Chairman and CEO of Special Olympics. “Our Movement’s athletes represent the most medically underserved population in the world. With the help of the Hear the World Foundation, we can offer them the health care intervention that they so badly need and deserve.”

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1,183 athletes aged between 8 and 64 years underwent a hearing screening.

218 athletes were diagnosed with hearing loss, which equates to 18.4 percent of the Special Olympics athletes.

The Hear the World Foundation supplies high-quality Phonak hearing instruments to 55 athletes from 35 countries and is organizing follow-up care in their respective home countries.

Three Korean athletes with hearing loss were fitted on site at the Healthy Hearing venue, while vouchers for hearing aid fittings, batteries and follow-up care were given out for the remaining athletes.