Long-Term Vision

Our plan to change the landscape of hearing loss

World Wide Hearing is currently focused on providing access to affordable hearing aids to children and youth in developing countries. We also have a multifaceted, long-term strategy to address hearing loss in the coming decades.

Audio 20/20 is World Wide Hearing’s global initiative to reduce hearing impairment and its negative effects on the quality of life of people in developing countries and underserved communities. The six-part strategy to implement Audio 20/20 is called P.R.E.E.T.A. (Prevention, Research, Education, Equipment, Training, Advocacy).

Prevention:
• Hearing loss can be prevented to a large extent by providing access to low-cost antibiotics and vaccinations for infants and children.
• Prevention also entails facilitating and supporting newborn and childhood screening programs among community-based rehabilitation programs, clinics, and hospitals, as well as promoting health education programs about harmful chemicals and medicines, especially certain antibiotics.

Implementation will take place by working with government health departments and strategic partners.

Research:
• There is a critical lack of research on hearing impairment in the developing world. We believe that supporting such research is an important step towards effectively addressing the problem of hearing impairment itself.

Implementation will take place by supporting the efforts of World Wide Hearing’s collaborating partners by providing technical expertise and experience in research on ear and hearing problems around the world.

Education:
• World Wide Hearing believes that with some professional attention and the provision of high-quality hearing aids, many children with hearing impairment are capable of attending and thriving in mainstream (inclusive) schools.
• World Wide Hearing's main activity is to facilitate the provision and fitting, and follow-up of hearing aids to children as well as adults, while making sure that they have access to training programs for better speech, language and communication skills (including web-based programs). The goal is to integrate children with hearing impairment into existing education systems and their local communities.

Implementation will take place through coordination between World Wide Hearing and local governments. Additionally, World Wide Hearing hopes to work with strategic partners who have established credentials in the field of (inclusive) education for persons with hearing impairment.

Equipment:
• In parallel to the traditional low-volume and costly diagnostic and fitting process, World Wide Hearing seeks to develop and implement a rapid, high-volume and affordable audiology service combined with fitting affordable, high-quality digital hearing aids through our Hearing Express model.
• Batteries can be prohibitively expensive for low-income families, as well as being environmentally unfriendly. World Wide Hearing supports using affordable, rechargeable batteries and other alternative power supply systems, especially solar recharger platforms.

Implementation will take place through the Hearing Express service model. World Wide Hearing seeks to apply advances in hearing health care technology in the Hearing Express model.

Training:
• To 'front-line' individuals such as health care workers, teachers, and family members.
• On developing speech, language, and communication skills for persons who are hard-of-hearing.
• On technical skills and financial sustainability for prospective hearing aid providers.
• To increase the rates of job retention among adults and success in mainstream school systems in children by improving communication skills.

Implementation will take place primarily through cooperation with local governments and strategic partners. Development of Hearing Express 'Education' Teams that could provide education services in remote areas and underserved communities will be explored by World Wide Hearing in the future.

Advocacy
• Through the network of World Wide Hearing members and through its collaboration agreement with the World Health Organization, the World Wide Hearing Member Association is in a unique position to advocate on behalf of persons who are hard-of-hearing.
• World Wide Hearing will continue to raise awareness about hearing impairment and its negative effects on individuals and the community at large.
• From 2006 onwards World Wide Hearing has targeted decision makers in governments, community and business leaders, the United Nations, local and international non-government organizations (NGOs) and many others in order to create awareness about the social and economic benefits of assisting hearing impaired persons. We champion the need to make hearing matter.