media release

Joey McIntyre raises awareness about Hearing Loss

Staefa, Switzerland, March 17, 2011

Musician Joey McIntyre is the latest famous face to lend his support to Hear the World, a global initiative launched by hearing instrument manufacturer Phonak to raise awareness about the importance of hearing and the consequences of hearing loss. Known worldwide as a member of pop sensation New Kids on the Block, McIntyre will also appear in a Hear the World public service announcement around the importance of pediatric hearing testing and early diagnosis.

After his son Rhys was born with severe hearing loss, McIntyre made it his mission to educate the public about the importance of early diagnosis, as well as solutions available to treat hearing loss in children.

"As a musician, music – and the ability to hear it – is the cornerstone of my life, so when my son was diagnosed with severe hearing loss, I wasn't sure how to handle it," said McIntyre. "Thankfully, because of today's advanced hearing aid technology, I don't have to worry about my son missing a beat. That is why I am honored to join Hear the World in their mission to educate the public about hearing loss and the solutions available to treat it."

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, hearing loss is the number one birth defect in the United States – nearly 33 babies are born every day with permanent hearing loss, 1 in 1.000 have a profound hearing loss and another 2 to 3 in 1.000 have partial hearing loss. Children with hearing loss have increased difficulties with verbal and nonverbal communication skills, increased behavioral problems, decreased psychosocial well-being and lower educational attainment compared to children with normal hearing.

"The most critical period for speech and language development is from birth to four years of age, which is why it’s important to recognize the signs of hearing loss in infants and toddlers as early as possible," says Dr. Craig Kasper, Au.D., Chief Audiology Officer at Audio Help Hearing Centers in New York City and spokesperson for Hear the World. "Parents are often the first to sense that their child has a hearing problem. If you suspect that your child may have hearing loss, call your local hearing health professional to set-up a hearing screening and to learn more about available solutions."

McIntyre will join a host of other celebrity ambassadors including Jude Law, Kelly Osbourne, Elle Macpherson, Annie Lennox, Sting and Peter Gabriel. Each ambassador has been photographed by musician and photographer Bryan Adams holding the Hear the World pose – with one hand cupped behind his or her ear to convey conscious hearing.

Information about hearing loss in children