media release

FM technology for “Chopin and his Europe” Music Festival

Staefa, Switzerland, July 19, 2010

For the first time ever, this August, the annual “Chopin and his Europe” concert series will be available to a group of listeners who have not been able to enjoy it before: people with hearing loss.

The 6th International Music Festival “Chopin and his Europe” that will take place in Warsaw/Poland this summer consists of several dozen concerts that present the works of the Polish composer in a broad cultural context. To enhance the expe-rience for many who have previously been unable to participate, Hear the World, a global initiative by leading hearing system manufacturer Phonak, installed wireless communication systems in the concert hall. As a result of the Phonak FM systems, people with hearing loss this year will have the ability to enjoy Chopin’s music and the festival overall.

Hear the World is a global initiative by leading hearing system manufacturer Phonak created to raise awareness about the importance of hearing and the social and emotional impact of hearing loss. The system installed in the concert hall consists of a FM transmitter that picks up the speaking voice, or in this case, Chopin’s music, and sends it via radio waves directly to a tiny receiver that is connected to the hearing aids*. Additionally, festival attendees will be able to obtain a free hearing screening, provided by Phonak before each concert.

This is the second opportunity for people with hearing loss to have “live” contact with the music of Frederic Chopin as part of the ‘Chopin and his Europe’ series, the first being during qualifying round of the Chopin Competition. The solution will also be used during the International Frederic Chopin Piano Competition in October.

By creating the opportunity for people with hearing loss to participate in the concert, the festival organizers encourage attendees to become supporters of the Hear the World initiative. Hear the World’s mission is to raise awareness about how precious the sense of hearing is and that is not to be taken for granted. If neglected, loud music, prolonged exposure to noise or the first signs of hearing loss can result in a poorer quality of life for those affected.

Music is a universal means of communication, without language barriers and with the ability to reach all people regardless of their age or nationality. In light of this, leading influencers of the music world, including Bobby McFerrin (the artist's concert will be held during the festival), Plácido Domingo, Bryan Adams, Annie Lennox and many others have leant their support to the Hear the World initiative.

*Those who wear hearing instruments may use FM system provided that the hearing aid is equipped with T-coil and it is activated.