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This Spring, Hear the World Encourages Americans to Consider Healthy Hearing

Global hearing awareness initiative encourages Americans to consider healthy hearing for spring 2009

Stäfa, Switzerland - April 29, 2009  - Each year, the arrival of spring marks an opportunity for Americans to refresh and revitalize themselves. With health on the mind, Hear the World, a global initiative to inform and educate the public about the importance of hearing loss, wants to encourage Americans to also consider their hearing in this season of renewal.

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According to the Better Hearing Institute (BHI), only about 13% of family health practitioners include a hearing screening along with regularly scheduled annual physicals. To prepare for this season, individuals should consider contacting a local audiologist or hearing healthcare professional to schedule their annual hearing screening.

"Annual hearing screenings are essential in the preservation and longevity of one of the body's most important senses, their hearing," said Dr. Craig Kasper, New York-based audiologist and clinical spokesperson for Hear the World. "The arrival of spring certainly sparks thoughts of family gatherings, outdoor events and of course, warmer weather. To ensure enjoyment of these activities, there is no better time to consult a hearing healthcare professional to have your hearing tested."

More than 30 million American's are currently affected by hearing loss, a disability that touches more than 16% of the world's population. While often undetected or ignored, hearing loss can become a social and emotional barrier for the individuals and families who it affects. Contrary to popular belief, hearing loss is not solely a concern for the elderly. In fact, according to the BHI, 65% of hearing loss cases affects those under the age of 65, with more than 6 million people affected between the ages of 18 to 44.

For additional information regarding the detection, treatment and prevention of hearing loss or for a complete list of audiologists and hearing healthcare professionals in your area, please visit www.hear-the-world.com or www.phonak.com.

About Hear the World

Hear the World is a global initiative by hearing system manufacturer Phonak created to raise awareness about the importance of hearing. The initiative calls attention to the social and emotional impact of hearing loss and addresses prevention of and solutions to a problem that affects more than 16% of the world's population. Bryan Adams, Annie Lennox, Lenny Kravitz, Plácido Domingo and other renowned musicians support the Hear the World initiative as ambassadors. In the context of the Hear the World initiative, Phonak has established the non-profit Hear the World Foundation to improve the quality of life of people with hearing loss through financial and technical assistance. The foundation is committed to the prevention of hearing loss as well as the support of people with hearing loss and their families.

About Phonak

Headquartered near Zurich, Switzerland, Phonak, a member of Sonova Group, has developed, produced and globally distributed state-of-the-art hearing systems and wireless devices for more than 50 years. The combination of expertise in hearing technology, mastery in acoustics and strong cooperation with hearing healthcare professionals allows Phonak to significantly improve people's hearing ability and speech understanding and therefore their quality of life.

Phonak offers a complete range of digital hearing instruments, along with complementary wireless communication systems. With a worldwide presence, Phonak drives innovation and sets new industry benchmarks regarding miniaturization and performance.

For more information please visit www.hear-the-world.com or www.phonak.com.

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