Staefa, Switzerland, January 9, 2013
The Hear the World Foundation aims to create a world where every person has a chance to enjoy good hearing. It focuses particularly on providing aid for children with hearing loss, in an effort to help them develop at an appropriate rate for their age. In 2012, for example, a total of 18 projects in 15 countries received support in the form of hearing instruments, FM systems and funding amounting to more than CHF 660,000.
The non-profit foundation publishes its 2012 annual report
The Hear the World Foundation has been campaigning for equal opportunities and a better quality of life for people with hearing loss since 2006. As a leading manufacturer of hearing systems, Sonova considers it part of its social responsibility to support people in need as a result of hearing loss and to play an active role in prevention and raising awareness of this issue. With this in mind, the Sonova Group set up the non-profit Hear the World Foundation in 2006. Its aim is to create a world where every person has a chance to enjoy good hearing.
There is an urgent need for aid, as hearing loss remains a neglected topic in spite of the clear message conveyed by statistics: more than 630 million people across the world are affected by hearing loss, and around half of these cases could have been avoided if preventive action had been taken. Every year, some 665,000 children are born with significant hearing loss. One of the major challenges is that 80 percent of people with hearing loss live in countries where income is moderate to low and often they do not have any access to audiological or medical care. As a result, in developing countries only one in 40 people with hearing loss wears a hearing instrument.
Focus on audiological care for children with hearing loss
A declared focus of Hear the World’s mission is on providing audiological care for children with hearing loss. The foundation offers aid in places where families do not have any access to audiological care for their children for geographical, social or financial reasons. In addition to the projects that the Hear the World Foundation – together with its network of partners – implements all over the world, the foundation also launched its own “52 Children” program in 2010. Thanks to this initiative, every week a child in need is given the gift of improved hearing and a significantly enhanced quality of life. “Hearing instruments not only enable these children to communicate and integrate into society; they also help them follow lessons more easily so they can realize their full learning potential. With our commitment, we are giving children affected by hearing loss – particularly those in developing countries – the chance of a brighter future,” says Lukas Braunschweiler, President of the Hear the World Foundation and CEO of Sonova.
Other key areas of the foundation’s work
- Prevention programs: The Hear the World Foundation promotes schemes to raise awareness of the issue of hearing and hearing loss with the aim of improving prevention and encouraging people to take more conscious care of their hearing. For instance, the “Sound Sense” program run by the Hearing Foundation of Canada is currently educating students from 450 Canadian schools about how to handle their hearing with care.
- Research into audiological care for children: Promoting scientific studies and research projects has been an integral part of the foundation’s program ever since it was established. The more knowledge is available to us, the more effectively we can help people who need it. Currently, the Hear the World Foundation is supporting scientists in Nigeria, South Africa and Malawi in their efforts to set up a telemedicine system for the entire African continent.
- Educational and training programs: In many countries, access to specialist knowledge and sound training in the field of audiology is hard to find. That is why the Hear the World Foundation supports projects that provide training for audiologists locally and offer them guidance with their further education. Over the past three years, for example, the foundation has been working with the organization EARS, which is currently training ten audiology students in the Dominican Republic.
- Programs for parents: For most parents, having their children diagnosed with hearing loss comes as a shock. By supporting information programs and self-help groups for parents, the Hear the World Foundation plays an important role in ensuring that affected parents receive tangible help and assistance, and enables them to further their child’s development.
Sustainable commitment on a global scale
A sustainable impact rather than a flash in the pan – that is the decisive criterion for all projects supported by the Hear the World Foundation. This means, for example, schemes involving donations of hearing instruments also include fittings and regular follow-up checks by experts on site, as well as a constant supply of batteries. Projects in Kenya, Cambodia and Armenia are prime examples of the foundation’s longstanding cooperation with local partners. These provide the opportunity to build on an established foundation and expand the foundation’s strong network of medical care providers.
The Hear the World Foundation accepts applications for support from projects that deal with the issue of hearing loss, encourage prevention or provide concrete aid for people affected by hearing loss and their families. The deadline for applications for 2013 is January 31, 2013.