There are now over a million Syrian refugees living in Lebanon. They receive no financial support from the state. Accordingly, most of them depend on humanitarian aid to get by from day to day. The Hear the World Foundation is providing a glimmer of hope by giving hearing aids to children with hearing loss.

Place & Year

Beirut, Lebanon, 2017-2018

Project Partners

Houri Hearing

Support

Technology Knowledge

Main Focus

Children Providing audiological care for children in low-income countries is a focal area of the Hear the World Foundation’s activities.
Professional training The Hear the World Foundation supports projects that enable continuous audiological training for professionals on site.
Prevention of hearing loss The Hear the World Foundation globally promotes awareness for the topics of hearing and hearing loss and thus actively contributes toward the prevention of hearing loss.
Programs for parents & families By supporting self-help groups for parents, the Hear the World Foundation makes an important contribution, thus ensuring that affected parents receive specific help and assistance.

Lebanon is sheltering over 1 million Syrian refugees – this equates to around 20 percent of Lebanon’s entire population. It is hardly surprising that the Lebanese state is struggling to cope with this large number of people seeking protection and that resentment of the refugees is building in the Lebanese population. Syrian refugees are not allowed to work in Lebanon and they do not receive any accommodation or financial support from the state. As a result, 70 percent of Syrian refugees in Lebanon live in poverty and rely on support from aid organizations.

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With the #HearLebanon project, the Hear the World Foundation offers new hope: together with the Lebanese hearing aid acoustics chain Houri Hearing, the Hear the World Foundation is making hearing possible for one hundred Syrian child refugees and Lebanese children in need.

Glimmer of hope for child refugees

In close cooperation with schools for the deaf throughout Lebanon, one hundred children were diagnosed with hearing loss. They were then thoroughly examined in Beirut by Hear the World volunteers:

After a professional hearing test, impressions were taken for personal earmolds. The earmolds were then made over the next few weeks, after which, a second Hear the World team travelled to Beirut – this time with the new Phonak hearing aids! Good hearing is particularly essential for child refugees, who have to get their bearings in a new home: “Hearing is the key to spoken language. Hearing helps these children to integrate into the new culture and the new location. Being able to hear helps them to feel that they belong and enables them to interact with their new environment,” explains Apryl Sweat, member of the Hear the World Foundation’s board of trustees. 

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Acoustic trauma caused by terror bombing

The causes of hearing loss are manifold: alongside untreated infections and marriage between blood relatives, many children suffer from acoustic trauma as a consequence of terror bombing in their Syrian homeland. Parents tell the Hear the World volunteers heart-wrenching stories of the horrors of war. “The deployment in Lebanon was an emotional rollercoaster: the children’s stories are incredibly sad, but nevertheless I’m very grateful that I was able to make a small contribution to a better world here,” says Anne-Sophie, speaking from the heart to all volunteers.

Circus workshop for disadvantaged children with hearing loss in Lebanon

A few months after receiving new hearing aids, children in Lebanon enjoyed another highlight when prominent Swiss aerialist and Phonak ambassador Jason Brügger visited to lead a circus workshop. Affected by hearing loss himself, Jason used his personal experiences and talents to encourage the children to achieve new goals. As the children improved their balance through acrobatic exercises, they also enhanced their self-esteem and courage.

The commitment to the children in Lebanon continues

In the coming months, Houri Hearing and the Hear the World Foundation will also arrange subsequent care for the children, thus bringing some joy and hope back into their lives via the gift of hearing.

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