Worldwide there are round 466 million people affected by hearing loss and among them 34 million children (Source: WHO, 2018). Round half of these cases could have been avoided by taking preventive measures.
One of the biggest challenges is that 80 percent of people with hearing loss live in low- to middle-income countries and often do not have any access to audiological or medical care. In low-income countries, for example, only one in 40 people with hearing loss wears a hearing aid.
This has serious consequences: children with untreated hearing loss, particularly those living in these regions, have hardly any future prospects. After all, children who cannot hear very well have difficulty learning to speak, which reduces their chances of receiving an education and developing at an appropriate rate for their age. Hearing aids as well as audiological and medical care would remedy this. However, access to these remains beyond the grasp of most families.
Social responsibility at Sonova
Against this background, Sonova founded the non-profit Hear the World Foundation in 2006.
The vision of the foundation
A world in which:
- each person has the chance to experience good hearing,
- wearing a hearing aid is no longer a taboo,
- hearing is cherished and protected, and
- people in need with hearing loss enjoy equal opportunities.
The Hear the World Foundation advocates for equal opportunities and improved quality of life for people in need with hearing loss all around the world.
The foundation actively supports aid projects benefiting people, and particularly children in need with hearing loss - with funding, hearing technology and expertise provided by Sonova employees as volunteers.