Skip to main content

15/02/2023 | 17:00 CET | Phonak

Phonak Sponsors Inspiring New Short Film "What It's Like"

Stäfa, Switzerland, February 15, 2023Phonak, a leading global provider of life-changing hearing solutions, is proud to announce its sponsorship of the new short film "What It’s Like". The film, which features professional skier Robin Gillon, takes viewers on a journey through the daily experiences of someone living with hearing loss.

Born with 80% hearing loss, Robin Gillon never let his condition hold him back from pursuing his passion for skiing. He has become one of the top five skiers in the European Cup and was ranked in the top 40 overall in the World Pro Tour (Association of Free Ski Professionals). Robin's first documentary "Sound of Silence", garnered 13 international awards, over 30 film festival selections, and was featured by the likes of Red Bull and others. The documentary covers the tragic and difficult experiences he overcame growing up in Switzerland as a deaf person singled out and excluded because he was different.

Among the responses he received from his first film was the question, “what does he hear?”, as Robin can only hear roughly 20% of what’s around him without hearing aids. The question became the spark for his next film, “What It’s Like”, which had its U.S. premiere in November 2022. Robin’s new film takes the viewer on a journey of what it’s like to be him - as an athlete and as a person, and highlights the physical, social and emotional barriers he faces. A key moment in the early part of the film shows him skiing in the backcountry deep in the powdery snow. He then pops into the corner of the frame and provides narration prompting the question of what he hears at that moment while pausing the action. The film then rewinds to the beginning repeating the scene at a volume similar to what he would hear, giving an eye-opening viewer experience.

"I want to bring awareness to the hard of hearing and deaf community in a positive way and show people that, although we all have daily struggles, we can get through them," says Robin. “At the film’s end, I return the question by asking what it is like to be you. What is your misfortune? What are your challenges? I’m glad I got to return that question because I hope people realize that even though I have these problems, look at me; I’m doing it. I’m having fun. Even if things are terrible, there is a way out or a way to work with it."

What It's Like

To support his mission of fighting the stigma, Robin has organized raffles at his premieres in Fribourg, Switzerland and in the U.S. at Woodward Park City. A portion of the profits from the raffles will be donated to the Hear the World Foundation, which supports children in need of hearing solutions.

"I would not be able to hear properly or able to speak multiple languages without my hearing solution. It's our job to support kids and help them. I can't stress enough how extremely important this is," says Robin.

Phonak is honored to support Robin's inspiring journey and his mission to bring awareness to the hard of hearing and deaf community. "What It's Like" is a testament to the power of determination and the impact of access to resources and support.

About Phonak  

Since 1947, Phonak has been dedicated to preserving social, emotional and physical quality of life by opening new acoustic worlds for people with hearing loss. We believe that well-hearing equates to well-being and thus is essential for living life to the fullest. Today we offer the broadest portfolio of innovative hearing solutions. In close collaboration with hearing care professionals around the world, we continue to focus on what matters most: improving speech understanding, changing people's lives and having a positive effect on society as a whole. Life is on

About Hear the World Foundation

Founded in 2006 by Sonova Group, the Hear the World Foundation supports projects around the world enabling children with hearing loss to develop appropriately to their age. The foundation focuses on projects in low- to middle-income countries which give children with hearing loss access to audiological care. To this end, the non-profit Swiss foundation provides funding, hearing technology as well as on-site expertise to train local professionals. The expertise is provided by Sonova Group employees who work on a voluntary basis for the foundation.

About Robin Gillon

Robin Gillon is a professional skier who has been climbing the ranks in his career despite being born with 80% hearing loss. He is passionate about fighting the stigma surrounding hearing loss and bringing awareness to the hard of hearing and deaf community.

Media relations contacts: Global and U.S.