Media - Sonova News Room

A partnership to promote better hearing

Sonova volunteering for the Hear the World Foundation in Armenia

Although she has only been wearing them for a month, two-year-old Hasmik has already made enormous progress with her hearing instruments. She is benefiting from a partnership between the Arabkir Hospital in Yerevan, the Armenian capital, and the Children’s Hospital Zurich, that is supported by Sonova’s Hear the World Foundation.

Christiane Schubert and Nazan Yakar could hardly close their suitcases. They were only able to pack a few clothes because the rest of the space was taken up by technical equipment destined for Armenia: there were large numbers of hearing aids and even Leo − the Phonak mascot − was on board the flight. These two young women make up the Phonak pediatric audiology team at Sonova’s headquarters in Germany, located near Stuttgart. They have traveled together to Yerevan as volunteer helpers for the Hear the World Foundation. “This is a fantastic experience,” Schubert enthuses. “The audiologists on the ground here only have very modest equipment, but they achieve so much with it. They give high priority to speech and music therapy. We’re getting to know children who have developed very well in spite of profound hearing loss.”

The Arabkir Hospital in Yerevan, the Armenian capital, cares for children with hearing loss. The basis for the services offered here is a longstanding clinical partnership with the Children’s Hospital Zurich that has been supported by the Hear the World Foundation since 2010. As well as financial assistance, the partnership includes the provision of hearing aids and technical support in the form of deployments by Sonova experts such as Christiane Schubert and Nazan Yakar. In 2015, the project partner in Yerevan received the John Bamford Award, bestowed by the Hear the World Foundation each year on an especially deserving project. Through the partnership, audiologists at the Arabkir Hospital learn about the latest technologies and pass this knowledge on to five facilities spread across the whole country. This support is urgently needed: 20 percent of Armenians live on less than two dollars a day, and there is no adequate medical infrastructure.

Daniel was fitted with his hearing instruments when he was six months old. When he started to react to acoustic signals, I finally saw some light at the end of the tunnel. Now I’m full of confidence about his future.

Mother of Daniel

Schubert and Yakar answer many questions from their Armenian colleagues: What is the procedure for changing a housing? What tips are there on working with the Junior mode in the fitting software? The team in Yerevan is particularly enthusiastic about the new Roger systems – and their ease of handling. Schubert and Yakar also come into close contact with the hospital’s young patients. They became especially fond of two-year-old Hasmik, who has already made enormous progress with her Phonak Naída™ hearing aids – even though she has only been wearing them for a month. “I was very moved to see the strong sense of unity within families here,” Yakar comments. Two-year-old Daniel has come along to a check-up appointment with his mother. While he is absorbed in playing with brightly colored building blocks, his mother explains how lucky and grateful she is: “Daniel was fitted with his hearing instruments when he was six months old. When he started to react to acoustic signals, I finally saw some light at the end of the tunnel. Now I’m full of confidence about his future.”



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