April 27, 2022
– (Innsbruck, Austria): Today MED-EL, a global leader in hearing implant technology, has made its mentoring initiative Hearpeers
available globally. Under the theme “Together for a Hearing Future”, the initiative connects people living with hearing loss to an online community of volunteers who themselves are hard of hearing and use hearing implants such as cochlear implants More than 1.5 billion people live with hearing loss globally and this figure is estimated to rise to over 2.5 billion by 2050 (1 in 4 people), according to the World Health Organization (WHO
). Hearing loss can be considered an invisible disability, and public awareness is low. However, the consequences of permanent hearing loss are extensive and, if left untreated, have a significant impact on quality of life.
The Hearpeers initiative: connecting people since 2015
MED-EL originally launched its Hearpeers mentoring initiative in the UK in 2015 with the aim of supporting people living with hearing loss, and their caregivers, on their hearing journey. The initiative offered the opportunity to connect with local volunteers who share similar experiences and to get answers to individual questions about life with a hearing implant. Since then, the number of volunteers has grown considerably, making it possible to launch a global community that connects people worldwide.
“We want to support people with hearing loss and hearing implant users by giving them access to mentors and a community of peers not only locally, but worldwide. Our aim is to build a global support network – a family you feel connected to and safe to ask all your questions around hearing loss and hearing implants. We know that people really value being able to talk to others who have been on the same journey; the power of the Hearpeers initiative is that it’s focused on people supporting people”, says Patrick D’Haese, Corporate Director of Awareness and Public Affairs, MED-EL.
The Hearpeers mentors: the core of a global, vibrant community
The Hearpeers mentors provide one-to-one support to a range of people including those recently diagnosed with hearing loss, their relatives, and people who have recently started to use a hearing implant. All mentors are volunteers who are eager to give something back to improve the lives of others. The mentors differ in ages, and all have different, individual stories about life with hearing loss and hearing implants.
Colin, a cochlear implant user from the UK explains how his personal experience inspired him to become a Hearpeers mentor: “During my assessment process, I had the opportunity to speak with a cochlear implant recipient. This was an invaluable experience and truly supported me as I adjusted to living with hearing loss. I wanted to offer other people the same opportunity.”
Similarly, Olga the mother of Amelie from Germany outlines how the community has helped her understand how best to support her daughter: “When making the decision about whether to choose a hearing implant, advice from experts is vital, but it’s reassuring to hear from other families with older kids that have gone through a similar hearing loss journey.”
Mentors like Colin and Olga live in 15 countries including the UK, the US, India, Australia, the Philippines and Germany. The mentors speak multiple languages and with a new community forum also available, connecting to someone who understands more about life with hearing loss is now easier than ever.
“Our mission at MED-EL has always been to improve the quality of life for people all around the globe. By setting up the Hearpeers initiative, we want to extend the community, build new relationships and offer support – especially in countries with limited access to hearing solutions
”, says Patrick D’Haese, Corporate Director of Awareness and Public Affairs, MED-EL.
The global MED-EL Hearpeers community is available at www.hearpeers.com.
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