Media - Sonova News Room
Music star Marc Sway is supporting Hear the World Foundation
Swiss star musician Marc Sway is an ambassador for Sonova’s Hear the World Foundation. He recently visited a Foundation project for children with hearing loss in Sorocaba, Brazil. Music can enhance the kids’ language development, and Sway is hoping to share his art with others affected by hearing loss in the future, too.
Guitar on knee, Marc Sway is singing his heart out as he sits surrounded by dozens of children looking up at him in excitement. The first few start to rock back and forth with the rhythm, vocalizing and clapping along in time – even the ones who cannot hear quite so well: Sway is visiting an aid project for children with hearing loss in Brazil. As the child of a Brazilian mother, the country has been his home from home. Sway’s mission here is to make music with the children and help his little audience members make progress with their language development.
As a musician, I hear, see and feel with my hearing. If I couldn’t hear, I wouldn’t be able to do my job, and that’s why I’m lending my support to the work of the Hear the World Foundation in improving hearing all round the world.
Marc Sway, musician
There are more than 32 million children affected by hearing loss around the globe, and many of them have no access to hearing solutions. As children who cannot hear neither learn to speak nor have any chance of enjoying an education, their chances of independence in life are minimal. Marc Sway understands this problem better than most, as good hearing is essential to his life: “As a musician, I hear see and feel with my hearing. If I couldn’t hear, I wouldn’t be able to do my job, and that’s why I’m lending my support to the work of the Hear the World Foundation in improving hearing all round the world.”
To kick off his active involvement with Hear the World, the renowned Swiss musician took a trip to São Paolo in May 2017 to visit the aid project that the Hear the World Foundation supports there. Run in collaboration with Apadas (Associação Pais Amigos Deficientes Auditivos), a non-profit organization in the city of Sorocaba, the project provides disadvantaged families with free, professional audiological care.
“I debated long and hard what I should do when I got here,” says Marc Sway. “And I think what I do best is making music and communicating with people. Music is a universal medium – the children are completely set free, they lose all their inhibitions. It’s a really beautiful project.” The VIP guest has moved the head of the facility to tears: “Today is a very special day for us and we’re delighted to welcome Marc,” announces Angelina Martinez in a trembling voice. “He believes in the children’s ability to sing and hear, and he’s sharing his love of music with them.”
More audiology clinics thanks to Hear the World
Marc Sway is delighted that making music with the children in Sorocabo is helping them with their language development. The children won’t forget his visit – the guitar-playing and singing has been fun and motivating for the children and has stimulated their hearing as well.
Ongoing intensive help will enable the children to go to school and thus improve their life chances. Marc Sway has been finding out about the non-profit organization’s development work on his trip; since its foundation in 1988, Apadas has been working to identify and treat hearing loss at an early stage, and its endeavors are not limited to the children affected – the organization also trains relatives and schoolteachers, giving them tips on how best to deal with hearing loss.
There are more than 200 million people in Brazil, and while they have free access to hearing support, including hearing aids and cochlear implants, there are too few clinics offering audiological aftercare. Sonova’s Hear the World Foundation is working with Apadas to improve this provision by educating experts, offering training courses and providing technical and financial support in the field of audiological research.
There are now many people affected by hearing loss who no longer have to travel up to six hours to visit the clinic in São Paolo; thanks to the Hear the World Foundation, more experts in other regions have specialized in audiological care, creating new outreach centers offering everything from early identification of hearing loss to speech therapy.
Everyone should be able to listen to music
Apadas continues to play a key role in providing audiological support for the children of the 2.5 million people living in the region surrounding the industrial city of Sorocaba to the east of São Paulo. Angelina Martinez, the head of the facility, appreciates the importance of such VIP support: “Marc’s visit is about so much more than making music: he is showing the children that he believes in them and encouraging them to achieve their full potential.”
Other people with hearing loss will also be benefiting from Sway’s involvement as an ambassador for the Hear the World Foundation: On his 2018 concert tour, the musician is planning to raise awareness of the importance of good hearing amongst his own fans and make his music accessible for people with hearing loss – so he has taken on a sign language interpreter, who provides simultaneous translations of his song lyrics on stage. His reasons are simple, as Sway explains: “Music is my world – a world that should be open to everyone.”
Taking to the gala stage for a good cause
Marc Sway gave a talk about his experiences with the Brazilian project at the Hear the World Charity Gala at Zurich’s Dolder Grand Hotel in June 2017. The event was an opportunity for the Foundation to present its work in its many aid projects while auctioning prizes and presenting moving anecdotes about children with hearing loss. One of the musical highlights of the evening was an appearance by rock legend Bryan Adams, who has been an active supporter of, and ambassador for, the Hear the World Foundation since its launch more than ten years ago.
The invited audience of more than 300 guests seem no less impressed by Marc Sway, as he takes up position with his guitar in the middle of the crowd and strums an unplugged rendition of his latest song “Soudage” (English: “Listen”) – it’s no coincidence that he is considered the best live musician in Switzerland. The audience is delighted by the performances and raises more than CHF 375,000 for the Hear the World Foundation’s project work.
Lukas Braunschweiler, Sonova’s former CEO and President of the Hear the World Foundation, is in buoyant mood: “This donation will allow us to help some 1,900 disadvantaged children with hearing loss all round the world, providing them with audiological support and giving them the chance to hear and speak.”
The gala is not the first time the two Hear the World ambassadors Bryan Adams and Marc Sway have run into one another; Adams has also photographed his musical colleague for the Foundation’s annual calendar, which is sold just before Christmas every year. The black-and-white portrait shows Sway adopting the pose for listening carefully, with his hand cupped behind his ear. This is to draw attention to the importance of good hearing and the consequences of hearing loss.
Sway has thus joined the ranks of more than 100 VIP ambassadors, including Plácido Domingo, Cindy Crawford, Eros Ramazzotti, Joss Stone, Kate Moss and Tina Turner – Bryan Adams has snapped them all over the years. As every year, the profits from calendar sales will once again go to benefit children with hearing loss – and this year it’s with support from Marc Sway as well.
Marc Sway was born in Männedorf on Lake Zurich in 1979, and is considered the best live performer in Switzerland. He has been actively involved in promoting better hearing as an ambassador for the Hear the World Foundation since 2017.