Stäfa, Switzerland, May 20nd, 2020
In the 2019/2020 fiscal year, the Swiss Hear the World Foundation moved another step closer to its vision of a world in which everyone has the chance to hear well: the charitable foundation supported a total of 24 projects around the world with funding, hearing aid and cochlear implant technology and expertise worth CHF 3.95 million – thus giving people in need with hearing loss, and particularly children, access to hearing care. Compared to the previous year, the clear growth in technology donations had contributed to an increase in funding of more than 50 percent.
Good hearing is an important prerequisite for interpersonal communication – especially in times of physical distance. For the round 466 million people with hearing loss worldwide (according to the WHO), hearing is not simply a matter of course. This is especially true in middle to low-income countries where there is often little access to hearing care. Last year in 20 of these countries, the non-profit Hear the World Foundation with its partners enabled people in need with hearing loss, and especially children, access to hearing care with hearing aid technology and audio-verbal therapy. For children, these services also mean the chance to develop age-appropriate speech and language skills that will allow them better prospects.
The support in figures:
24 projects in 20 countries were supported with a total of CHF 3.95 million in the form of technology, funding and expertise
35,000 children worldwide underwent hearing screenings. Over 1,000 children were diagnosed and treated for hearing loss
More than 190 local project team members were trained in audiological care
55 Sonova employees provided specialist support to the projects as volunteers
Long-term investment to build local capacity
“We are particularly proud of the work and results of projects that we have been supporting for several years with a holistic approach and where we had a strong impact,” says Arnd Kaldowski, President of the Hear the World Foundation. For instance, in the Dominican Republic, where the Hear the World Foundation has been supporting the local organization Centro Cristiano de Servicios Medicos to establish an audiological program since 2010 – with the result that the Dominican population now has access to hearing screening and tests, hearing solutions and auditory-verbal therapy.
One important condition to ensure the success of projects such as the one in the Dominican Republic is the training of audiological experts on site – a main focus of the foundation’s work. This is the only way to build up audiological care services that in the long term, will not be dependent on help from abroad. For this reason, last year, for the first time, the Foundation sponsored three hearing health care employees from projects in Ukraine, Kenya and Lebanon to participate in the Summer Academy at the reputed Academy of Hearing Aid Acoustics (afh) in Lübeck, Germany. They can now use their newly acquired knowledge in pediatric audiology in their own countries and pass on this expertise to colleagues local. This also creates qualified jobs and gives young people new prospects.
Further highlights from the Hear the World Foundation’s engagement over the past year can be found in the 2019/20 annual report. We will gladly send you a printed version on request.