Special Olympics Nippon can now boast of being the first accredited Program to successfully implement the Healthy Hearing Remote Access Model, in partnership with Phonak and the Hear the World Foundation (HTW). Japanese athlete Hiromi Nakada is the first recipient of a Phonak hearing aid, with more athletes on tap to benefit over the next few months.
In 2006, Phonak created the Hear the World Foundation to improve the quality of life for people with hearing loss and promote equal opportunities for them. To achieve this, HTW provides funds, hearing aids and assistive listening technology.
The Special Olympics – HTW partnership kicked off at the World Summer Games earlier this year with an aim to provide a maximum of 400 hearing aids for athletes who identified via Healthy Hearing screenings. HTW then matches each individual athlete with their closest Phonak distributor for a free, top of the line hearing instrument, and giving them direct access to professionals to answer their hearing needs. The hearing aid also comes with complimentary batteries courtesy of VARTA.
At the inaugural fitting in Tokyo, 27 year old Hiromi was excited to use the new high quality hearing aid. Her immediate feedback was that it brought crystal clear hearing quality, eliminating a lot of background noise. Hiromi’s mother adds another benefit is
that Hiromi will now be able to carry and use her mobile phone to stay in
contact with her family and friends.
Out of the 189 athletes diagnosed at the World Games, more than 70 Asia Pacific athletes are in need of hearing instruments, including 40 athletes from India and 15 from Pakistan. The partnership will greatly enhance athletes’ lives on and off the playing field.
Currently Special Olympics and HTW are working to fulfill the hearing aids required by these 189 athletes, with a long term vision towards continuing this matching process on a global scale, ensuring the same high-level hearing care for all Special Olympics athletes.