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“I know I can do anything I want to” — insights into life with hearing loss

Sonova supports the World Health Organization’s World Hearing Day campaign to change mindsets about hearing loss. Misconceptions and stigmas about hearing loss stop millions of people around the world from accessing hearing care. We want to empower people with hearing loss to get the best possible support for their individual hearing needs, and enjoy life to the full. 

World hearing day banner

Over 80% of ear and hearing care needs are unmet globally, according to World Health Organization (WHO) data. WHO states that changing attitudes towards hearing care is crucial to improving access and mitigating the cost of unaddressed hearing loss, which it estimates at almost USD 1 trillion annually. The human cost cannot be overlooked either, since untreated hearing loss may impact health, relationships and overall quality of life

Even when hearing loss has been diagnosed, many people are reluctant to get a hearing aid or use other hearing technology. Dr. Gurjit Singh, Senior Research Audiologist at Phonak Canada, has studied stigmas towards hearing loss and hearing aid adoption. He describes the embarrassment some people feel about having hearing loss, which may be linked to negative attitudes in society towards health and aging. 

At Sonova, our aim is to enable people who experience hearing loss to talk about it and seek support without fear of discrimination or other negative reactions from their environment. Hearing loss can happen to anyone, and at any time of life. We share WHO’s belief that hearing care should be available to all. The options to get support with hearing loss are many and varied. And, as the experiences of some of our own employees with hearing loss show, hearing loss does not stop you from succeeding professionally, or living the life you want.

The history enthusiast

As Senior Technical Lead at our Innovation Center in Toronto, Solveig Voss helps create the next generation of hearing technology. Outside work, she has a passion for historical reenactment, specifically the early medieval period, and eastern style historical combat. Wearing an armor cap and steel helmet, any sound is considerably dampened, but Solveig doesn’t let anything hold her back. While living in Shanghai, Solveig learned Mandarin, which as a tonal language can be challenging for people with hearing loss. She says, “I know I can do anything I want to.”

The sailor

“My hearing loss hasn't stopped me from channeling my energy into action!” says Campaign Operations Manager Cristina Nieddu. She enjoys team sports like volleyball, where quick communication is vital. Cristina’s other interest is sailing, a very different environment from the volleyball court but where being connected to surrounding sounds is just as important.

The music lovers

Stephan Müller brings his own experience of hearing loss to his work as a Hearing Performance Engineer in our Research & Development team in Switzerland. He’s been named our “Newcomer Inventor of the Year”. In his spare time, Stephan paraglides, scuba dives, and is a techno DJ. Music plays a big part in the life of Shana Chapman too, who works as Senior Practices Services Specialist in the US. She says: “Concerts can be a challenge for those with hearing loss, but I love going to them. I follow the melodies and vibrations!”

The changemaker

Jacqueline Drexler, Program Manager for our Hear the World Foundation, was one of the founders of our Hearing Loss Network, an employee-led advocacy group that advises on how to make Sonova a better place to work for people with hearing loss. As a hearing aid user with a cochlear implant, and a trained audiologist, Jacqueline is a compelling advocate for hearing solutions — and the needs of the people who use them. For Jacqueline, living life without limitations means being able to choose when to hear, and when to switch off. “After a long day of active listening, it can be wonderful to hear silence,” she says.

Everyone should be able to enjoy the delight of hearing. Changing mindsets is an important step towards making hearing care accessible to all.
Hearing Loss Network members