March 3, 2022 – (Vienna / Innsbruck, Austria) – To mark World Hearing Day, a new global project has been created to provide access to new ear and hearing care services for thousands of people living with undiagnosed and untreated hearing loss.
Recent data from the World Health Organization shows that 20% of the world’s population is living with hearing loss - a staggering 80% of which live in middle- and low-income countries. To help tackle this, the Austrian Development Agency (ADA), the operational unit of Austrian Development Cooperation, and a global manufacturer of hearing implants, MED-EL, have brought together an international network of more than 120 organizations and experts in the field of education, global health and hearing care to form the Hearing Healthcare Alliance.
The Alliance will implement a five-year program, part funded by the ADA and managed by MED-EL, to improve the diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation of people with hearing loss in 14 developing and emerging countries around the world.
A lifetime of hearing
People with hearing loss may wait a decade before seeking help. Factors such as limited access to qualified hearing healthcare professionals and hearing technologies, limited funding, stigma, and low awareness of the impact of hearing loss are among the reasons why untreated hearing loss is all too common.
Working with local communities in East and West Africa, Pakistan, Nepal, Bhutan, and Bangladesh, MED-EL’s Hearing Healthcare Alliance will create new ear and hearing care infrastructures and services, introduce new qualifications for hearing and healthcare professionals, and raise awareness of hearing loss. In just three years, nearly 100,000 people with undiagnosed and untreated hearing loss will directly benefit from the expertise of the Alliance.
"Hearing loss is on the rise, which is why people of all ages need access to quality hearing care and treatment regardless of where they live. Our focus has always been to overcome hearing loss as a barrier for communication and quality of life, which is why through our strategic partnership with the Austrian Development Agency and our partners we’re able to go beyond our core business to help create sustainable hearing healthcare services. Applying our knowledge and expertise as innovators in hearing technology we can continue to positively impact the lives of people living with undiagnosed or untreated hearing loss around the world.“ says Dr Ingeborg Hochmair, CEO of MED-EL.
Nearly 60% of hearing loss in children is due to avoidable causes
With a focus on hearing care from birth to old age, the Hearing HealthCare Alliance will equip local providers with the skills and equipment needed to ensure that 51,000 babies and children receive vital (new-born) hearing screening. The tests are a quick and painless important first stage in identifying hearing loss early, before deciding the best treatment option such as medication, hearing aids or cochlear implants.
Currently, nearly 93% of low-income countries have less than one audiologist per one million people. Through the Hearing Healthcare Alliance over 650 healthcare professionals will be able to access hearing care workshops or undertake new undergraduate and postgraduate qualifications in hearing sciences, and audiology and speech language pathology, so that people with hearing loss can receive continued care for years to come.
Dr. Friedrich Stift, Managing Director of ADA, “Our latest partnership with MED-EL builds on the experience gained through our award-winning hearing care initiative in Côte d'Ivoire and Bangladesh, which focused on new-born hearing screening and professional education. Strategic partnerships and experiences like these are central to bringing about sustainable and systemic change that benefits local communities and makes a measurable contribution to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and WHO resolutions on hearing care.”
About Austrian Development Agency (ADA)
The Austrian Development Agency (ADA), the operational unit of Austrian Development Cooperation, seeks to ensure that sustainable development works to the benefit of all people in Africa, Asia, Southeast Europe and the South Caucasus. Together with partner countries, public institutions, civil society organisations and businesses, ADA is currently implementing projects and programs with a total volume of 500 million euros.
ADA Press Contact:
Austrian Development Agency,
die Agentur der Österreichischen Entwicklungszusammenarbeit
Mag. Georg Keri
Tel.: +43 1903992402
MED-EL Medical Electronics, a leader in implantable hearing solutions, is driven by a mission to overcome hearing loss as a barrier to communication. The Austrian-based, privately owned business was co-founded by industry pioneers Ingeborg and Erwin Hochmair, whose ground-breaking research led to the development of the world’s first micro-electronic multi-channel cochlear implant (CI), which was successfully implanted in 1977 and was the basis for what is known as the modern CI today. This laid the foundation for the successful growth of the company in 1990, when they hired their first employees. To date, MED-EL has grown to more than 2,300 employees from around 80 nations and 30 locations worldwide.
The company offers the widest range of implantable and non-implantable solutions to treat all types of hearing loss, enabling people in 134 countries enjoy the gift of hearing with the help of a MED-EL device. MED-EL’s hearing solutions include cochlear and middle ear implant systems, a combined Electric Acoustic Stimulation hearing implant system, auditory brainstem implants as well as surgical and non-surgical bone conduction devices. www.medel.com
Doz. DI Dr DDr med. h.c. Ingeborg Hochmair
PR & Corporate Communications
MED-EL Medical Electronics
T: +43 5 7788-1029