32 million children worldwide are affected by disabling hearing loss.
The majority of them live in low- to middle-income countries and often lack access to any audiological or medical care. The consequences are severe as hearing is key to everyday interactions and an irreplaceable part of our social life.
For children, a life without hearing has an even stronger impact, as it means that they do not have access to spoken language and education, leading to fewer employment opportunities. As a result, early identification of hearing loss is key. Through our support of various projects, for example in Armenia, we give children the chance to start life at their full potential and develop at an appropriate rate for their age.
Hearing loss has many root causes. Numbers show that 60 percent of childhood hearing loss is preventable. The challenges of prevention vary in different countries and we tackle these individually through customized programs.
In low- to middle-income countries, such as Cambodia, the figure is even higher, revealing that three out of four cases of hearing loss in children could have been prevented. The causes of hearing loss in Cambodia are predominantly associated with either incorrect treatment of middle ear infections, malaria drugs overdose or acoustic trauma caused by landmines. Glyn Vaughan founded our partner organization All Ears Cambodia over ten years ago. In that time, Glyn has built five clinics in this medically underserved country.
In high-income countries, the challenges are completely different, and the main cause for hearing loss is noise. This is why we decided to become a partner with a leading Swiss concert promoter in order to promote prevention and to provide fans with free noise protection earplugs at concerts.
People who inspire others with their passion leave behind a legacy. Dr. Judith Gravel, an internationally acclaimed authority in pediatric audiology, was one of those people. After her passing in 2008, the Hear the World Foundation joined forces with the Department of Otolaryngology at the University of North Carolina (UNC) in the USA to set up the Judith Gravel Fellowship in her honor. The aim of the program is to promote the next generation of professional specialists, With its strong emphasis on the practical elements of training, the Judith Gravel Fellowship has proven to be a great success – so much so, that this year it was also honored with the Hear the World Foundation’s Richard Seewald Award.
All of our projects have one key thing in common: sustainability. With the help of our Sonova employees, we can pass on knowledge and train local experts which is vital in achieving sustainable support. I am delighted to report that 510 Sonova employees have selflessly contributed to our projects as volunteers for the past year alone. Such as Anna Biggins and Crystal Variava, both Audiologists at Sonova, who traveled to southern India on a voluntary mission for the Hear the World Foundation. While they were there, they worked at the Rangammal Memorial School, an institution for children with hearing loss that is been supported by Hear the World since 2014.
We can look back with immense pride on a successful year where the Hear the World Foundation has supported 24 projects in 19 countries. This incredible effort will improve the lives of countless people. 2016 marks our 10-year anniversary and we start this year nicely with our first donation of Cochlear Implants in Panama.
There is still a lot more to be done if we are to achieve our ambitious vision of a world where everyone has the chance to enjoy good hearing. I am proud of what we have already achieved and I am looking forward to another busy year. We are delighted to count on you to help us work towards our vision!
Activity report 2015/2016
Activity report 2014/15
Activity report 2013/14
Activity report 2012/13
Activity report 2012
Activity report 2011
Activity report 2010
Activity report 2009