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A campaign to make listening safe for concert-goers

Sonovaʼs Hear the World Foundation has partnered with Switzerland’s leading concert promoter Good News to provide fans with free noise protection earplugs at concerts. The Foundation will also be present at venues, pointing out the dangers posed by excessively loud music, thus supporting the efforts of the World Health Organization (WHO) to raise awareness about hearing protection.

According to the latest figures from the WHO, some 1.1 billion young people across the world are putting themselves at risk of hearing loss due to unsafe listening practices. Sonova’s Hear the World Foundation wants to help put a stop to this and has therefore signed up to be a prevention partner of Switzerland’s leading concert promoter Good News. The Foundation will be promoting its extensive, long-term campaign to “make listening safe” at all Good News events, reaching some 500,000 concert-goers every year.

Large banners hang at the entrances to event venues, displaying fitting lyrics from songs by famous Hear the World ambassadors. Statements by these celebrities encouraging concert-goers to “make listening safe” are at the heart of the campaign. Additionally, Hear the World Foundation teams hand out free noise-protection earplugs to fans at concerts. Team members wear colorful hats, bags and T-shirts with slogans in order to bring the issue of hearing protection to the audience's attention in a creative and laid-back way.

Partnership begins at Unheilig concert in Zurich

The promising partnership began with the German band Unheiligʼs performance at Zurichʼs Hallenstadion concert venue on April 25, 2015. Unheilig singer “Der Graf” is both a trained hearing care professional and a Hear the World ambassador and began supporting the foundation in 2012. “I know from my own experience how important good hearing is for our quality of life,” he says. “Many people fail to appreciate that hearing loss affects people of all ages, not just the elderly. I support Hear the World as an ambassador because I want to get even more people enthusiastic about hearing, which is a fascinating subject. After all, we know that music is one of the greatest gifts in our lives – and we need good hearing in order to experience it.”

“Der Graf”ʼs appeal was echoed in a spot played on the main stageʼs big screen to the more than 13,000 concert-goers; it quotes an Unheilig song lyric that highlights the importance of good hearing:

Video only available in German

Working together to enable people to enjoy music without any restrictions

Since its founding in 2006, the Hear the World Foundation has been campaigning for hearing loss prevention and supporting disadvantaged people with hearing loss, especially children. Lukas Braunschweiler, former CEO of Sonova and President of the Hear the World Foundation Board explains:"Our partnership with Good News marks a further milestone for our foundation and exemplifies the preventative work that we have been doing for many years. We want as many concert-goers as possible to protect their hearing. Here is something that few people know – noise-related hearing loss is irreversible." Good News CEO Gérard Jenni adds: “In the Hear the World Foundation, we have found a partner that is an excellent fit for Good News. Both of us have the same aim – enabling people to enjoy music without any restrictions. We are looking forward to experiencing many concerts together.”

Key tips for protecting yourself against noise-related hearing loss:

  • Do not turn music up too loud: noise levels below 85 dB are considered safe for our hearing. If you listen to music through audio devices, do not turn it up any louder than 60 percent of the maximum volume.
  • Wear earplugs at concerts and clubs and in other noisy environments. They can reduce the noise level by 5 to 45 dB.
  • Listen to music through headphones that fit well and block out background noise, as this will enable you to enjoy music at a low volume even in noisy surroundings.
  • Use smartphone apps to measure the level of background noise.
  • Keeping at a sufficient distance from the source of the noise helps to prevent hearing damage.
  • To give your ears a rest, make a conscious effort to take acoustic breaks and turn off all noise sources.
  • Have your hearing regularly checked by a hearing care professional.

More concert highlights

As the market leader in the Swiss concert industry, Good News presents an impressive lineup of national and international top acts. Highlights in 2015 include the Foo Fighters in St. Gallen, the Sonisphere Festival featuring Muse in Biel/Bienne, Die Toten Hosen in Zurich, and the Rock the Ring Festival in Hinwil, which includes bands such as Billy Idol and Toto. Sonova's Hear the World Foundation will be represented at Good News concerts throughout the next few years and reach hundreds of thousands of concert-goers with their preventative work, making listening safe for even more people.

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