media release

ear medical care for Children With Hearing Loss in Fiji


Staefa, Switzerland, February 22, 2010

Hear the World Foundation, a global initiative by leading hearing system manufacturer Phonak created to raise awareness about the importance of hearing and the consequences of hearing loss, will provide funding to the Carabez Alliance to establish a much-needed hearing clinic for children with hearing loss in Fiji and the surrounding Pacific Islands. The Carabez Alliance is an Australian-based non-profit organization whose goal is to provide hearing aids and audiology assistance, in conjunction with speech and language development, without cost to help local children achieve their full potential.

According to the alliance, Fiji has the highest number of people with hearing loss in the South Pacific region – close to 6 percent of the population is deaf or has hearing loss, and children make up 34 percent of the hearing-impaired community. Due to lack of resources and funding, many families are not able to treat their children’s hearing loss and/or medical conditions affecting their hearing, and as a result, many completely lose their sense of hearing over time. In addition, children with moderate to severe hearing loss are being placed in schools for the deaf because they do not have access to hearing aids that could help integrate them into a normal hearing environment.

“Untreated hearing loss is a severe problem among children in the South Pacific area because of limited access to hearing screenings and lack of education and funding around the solutions available to treat the condition,” said  Bronwyn Carabez, founder of the Carabez Alliance. “That is why I am thrilled to have the support of the Hear the World Foundation to create a hearing clinic that addresses this issue head on.”

A screening program and early intervention center for all children born in Fiji is the ultimate goal of the Carabez Alliance. Early intervention and care would allow children with hearing loss to be placed in a normal school environment where they would have the opportunity to reach their full potential, and as a result, restoring their quality of life.

Hear the World Foundation, with support from Phonak Australia, is very proud to be involved in such a worthwhile project for our very good neighbors, the people of Fiji,” said David Rundell, Managing Director, Phonak Australia. “We are extremely excited to be part of laying the foundation in providing sustainable long-term care to the people with hearing loss within Fiji and look forward to seeing the positive results we believe will result from our involvement.”