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Phonak Donates Hearing Aids to Special Olympic Athletes

From June 25 to July 4, Athens, Greece will host more than 7,000 athletes with intellectual disabilities from 170 countries for the 13th Special Olympics World Summer Games. During the Games, all athletes will receive comprehensive hearing screening as part of their medical check-up. For those athletes showing hearing loss, the Hear the World Foundation will donate hearing instruments with free follow-up care in their home country. The Hear the World Foundation was established in 2006 by leading Swiss hearing instrument manufacturer Phonak and is committed to improve the quality of life and promote equal opportunities for people with hearing loss worldwide.

An amazingly high 26 percent of the athletes participating in the Special Olympics have hearing loss. Unfortunately, many do not have hearing instruments. Often the cause is lack of access to medical and audiological care in their home country, or lack of funds . For this reason the Hear the World Foundation donates hundreds of high-quality hearing instruments to the Healthy Hearing Program organized by the Special Olympics.

"We are extremely honored to welcome the Hear the World Foundation into the Special Olympics Movement," said Dr. Timothy Shriver, Chairman and CEO of Special Olympics. "Our athletes represent the most medically underserved population in the world, and the World Games represents the largest health program exclusively for persons with intellectual disabilities. Now, Special Olympics can offer these deserving athletes the health intervention that will have an enormous impact on them, both on and off the playing field."

During the Games, all of the athletes will undergo a comprehensive hearing screening as part of their medical check-up. Those who have been identified with hearing loss will receive free hearing instruments and corresponding follow-up care in their home countries - all organized and funded by the Hear the World Foundation. "The advanced technology in modern hearing instruments enables people with hearing loss to significantly enhance their quality of life," says Alexander Zschokke, Chairman of the Board of the Hear the World Foundation. "We are particularly pleased to be able to offer the athletes at the Special Olympics the chance to improve their hearing and ultimately their quality of life." In order to ensure that the athletes can enjoy their new hearing instruments year round, VARTA Microbattery, a leading provider of hearing instrument batteries and Partner of the Hear the World Foundation, is providing a year's supply of batteries for each athlete.

In addition to its cooperation with the Special Olympics, the Hear the World Foundation supports a variety of other projects all over the world, in countries such as Kenya, Cambodia and the Dominican Republic. Further information and the application form for those interested in supporting the projects can be found at www.hear-the-world.com.

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