Washington, DC — Phonak’s Hear the World Foundation is donating hearing aids and follow-up care to the athletes participating in the 2011 Special Olympics. Many of these athletes have some level of hearing loss, but lack either access to or funds for hearing health care.

The 13th Special Olympics World Summer Games is being held in Athens, Greece, from June 25 to July 4, 2011. More than 7,000 athletes with intellectual disabilities from 170 countries will attend.

During the Games, all athletes will receive comprehensive hearing screening as part of their medical check-up. For athletes diagnosed with hearing loss, the Hear the World Foundation, established by Phonak in 2006, will donate hearing instruments as well as free follow-up care in their home country.

The Foundation reports that 26% of the athletes participating in the Special Olympics have some level of hearing loss, and many do not have hearing instruments due to lack of access to medical and audiological care in their home country or to financial burdens.

Alexander Zschokke, chairman of the board of the Hear the World Foundation, said in a press statement, “We are particularly pleased to be able to offer the athletes at the Special Olympics the chance to improve their hearing and ultimately their quality of life.”

In order to ensure that the athletes can enjoy their new hearing instruments year round, VARTA Microbattery is providing a year’s supply of hearing aid batteries for each athlete.

Hear the World Foundation