media release

Hear the World looks Back on a Successful 2009


Staefa, Switzerland, December 21, 2009

Hear the World, the global initiative by leading hearing instrument manufacturer Phonak, looks back on a successful 2009.

Through attention-grabbing events, free hearing test campaigns, prominent ambassadors, the HEAR THE WORLD magazine and a new website, the initiative was able to make a significant contribution to continue to raise awareness of the importance of hearing and the consequences of hearing loss. Furthermore, Hear the World was honored with prestigious awards in 2009, such as the Stevie Award and ECON Awards.

The Swiss hearing instrument manufacturer set up Hear the World in 2006 to increase awareness of the social and emotional consequences of hearing loss and to provide information on prevention and solutions for those affected. At the same time, the initiative also hoped to change the often negative connotation associated with hearing instruments.

2009 highlights at a glance


Hear the World Month

A Hear the World information stand traveled to six cities in Germany from mid-June through mid-July to inform as many people as possible about the importance of hearing, the consequences of hearing loss and possible steps to prevent it. More than 2,100 passers-by took the opportunity to have a free hearing test and over 2,300 participants were professionally photographed in a mobile studio in the conscious hearing pose – with a hand cupped behind their ear. Those not able to attend the events were able to follow the tour on an interactive microsite with a blog and photo gallery and to vote for the best ambassador picture from Germany.

Hear the World Ambassadors” Exhibition

After stopovers in New York, Berlin and Zurich, the “Hear the World Ambassadors” exhibition stopped off at London’s Saatchi Gallery in June 2009. On show were pictures taken by rock legend Bryan Adams, who as the official Hear the World photographer has shot a range of superstars, including Plácido Domingo, Lenny Kravitz and Annie Lennox in a conscious pose of hearing. 12,000 visitors learned about the importance of hearing and some 2,000 had their hearing tested at the exhibition as well.

In October, the exhibition made a special appearance at branches of the US department store Macy’s in San Francisco, CA and Dallas,TX. Of the 7,000 or so visitors, more than half took advantage of a free hearing test. The cooperation between the Hear the World initiative and Macy’s will continue next year in New York, Miami and Philadelphia.

Prominent ambassadors in 2009

Hear the World was also able to win the support of many prominent artists as ambassadors this year, including stars such as Lenny Kravitz, Peter Gabriel, Elle Macpherson, Jude Law, Laura Pausini and Marc Forster. Twelve celebrity ambassadors can be seen in the Hear the World calendar 2010 – a limited number are available.

New web Presence

With the relaunch of, the initiative appears as the first address on the net when searching for information on hearing and hearing loss. The Web site offers, among other things, a hearing community with interactive elements, such as an expert panel and a helper database that allows those affected by hearing loss to share experiences with others and contact experts. In addition, the site houses numerous audio and multimedia elements to bring the subject of hearing loss to life.


The Hear the World initiative was also honored this year with a number of prestigious awards. The Hear the World team received the much sought-after Stevie Award 2009 in the “Communications Team of the Year in Europe” category.

HEAR THE WORLD, the magazine for the culture of hearing, which was launched in January 2007 as the first lifestyle format magazine on the subject of hearing, secured several awards. The aim of the high-quality magazine is to give readers an understanding of the many aspects of hearing and sound. The high journalistic and creative quality convinced the jury of the ECON Awards who awarded the magazine the Gold Award. In addition, the HEAR THE WORLD magazine received the iF communication design award for the second time, having won it in 2007 as well.

“We can look back on a successful 2009. Using innovative communications approaches, we have raised public awareness about the importance of hearing and made a contribution to prevention and education,” said Vanessa Erhard Blattmann, who is responsible for Hear the World at Phonak. “Thanks to the support of many prominent ambassadors and the work of our team, we were able to get the attention of end users and communications experts. We want to further expand our activities on this basis in the coming year. 16 percent of the world’s population suffers from hearing loss today, and as a result, an awareness of dealing with the sense of hearing will become even more important in the future.”