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World Wide Hearing wins $750,000 grant in Google.org Impact Challenge!

Posted on Mar 31, 2017

World Wide Hearing is overjoyed to announce that it has won a $750,000 grant in the 2017 edition of Google.org Impact Challenge | Canada. World Wide Hearing was the only Quebec-based finalist in the competition.

We will use the grant money to develop a ground-breaking open-access technology platform.  Audiologists and speech therapists will use this technology to provide remote hearing loss diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation to children and youth in disadvantaged communities around the world.

“Hearing loss keeps over a billion people in a deep disconnect from the world. Our mission is to bring people out of their social isolation and let them live full, productive lives,” says Audra Renyi, Executive Director at World Wide Hearing. Over the past six years World Wide Hearing has run projects in Guatemala, Jordan, Peru, the Philippines, Vietnam and in Indigenous communities in Canada, where they provide hearing aids to children and youth and trained local people, mainly women, as hearing technicians to provide hearing aids and follow-up care.

The former Wall Street investment banker, who has been a hearing care advocate since 2011, is excited about the opportunities ahead. “The $750,000 Google.org grant will help us harness the power of technology to scale operations and connect young patients, parents and practitioners across the world. Our open-access global database will capture and aggregate a significant volume of data. This will give organizations, governments and businesses the means to determine the extent of hearing loss on a global scale, find hearing loss hotspots and identify regions that lack specialists.”

World Wide Hearing’s technology solution, specifically tailored to meet the challenges of remote communities with limited or unreliable internet connectivity, has generated a lot of interest during the three-week Google.org competition. The non-profit is looking to attract more partners to the project and start deep conversations with manufacturers.

“We want to thank everybody who voted for us,” said Renyi. “Together, we proved that technology has the potential to close the hearing loss gap for young people in developing countries and underprivileged communities.”

Voting for the 2017 Google.org Impact Challenge|Canada ran from March 6 to March 28. The ten finalists pitched their projects to a panel of judges at a closing event on March 30, 2017. A total of five winners were chosen: four selected by the panel of judges and one winner chosen by public vote. The winners received up to $750,000 in grant funding and technical assistance from Google.org and the LEAP Centre for Social Impact.

World Wide Hearing in the race for $750,000 grant from Google.org Impact Challenge | Canada

Posted on Mar 13, 2017

World Wide Hearing, a Quebec-based non-profit organization that provides access to affordable hearing aids to children and youth in developing countries and underserved communities, is one of the 10 finalists competing for a $750,000 grant in the 2017 edition of Google.org Impact Challenge| Canada.

World Wide Hearing is developing a ground-breaking technology platform to address hearing loss: the Teleaudiology Cloud, a turnkey solution consisting of an open-access, cloud-based hearing loss platform. The Teleaudiology Cloud will enable audiologists and speech therapists to provide remote diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation for hearing loss to children and youth within countries and across countries. The solution is tailored specifically to remote communities with limited or unreliable internet connectivity. Parents of children with hearing loss will also benefit from the technology as they will receive counselling, education and access to online peer groups.

“We are very excited to have made it to the finals of the Google.org Global Impact Challenge | Canada and to have brought this project one step closer to execution,” said Audra Renyi, Executive Director of World Wide Hearing. “Our project aims to connect children, parents and practitioners throughout the world to lift children with hearing loss out of social isolation and poverty.”

In the first two years of the project, the non-profit organization will work with its existing partners to connect to the platform children and schools in Indigenous communities in Canada, Peru, Guatemala and the Philippines.

“It’s not every day that you get a chance to make the world a better place on such a significant scale, ” explains Sam Sebastian, VP, Google and Country Director, Canada. “We were bowled over by the response to this challenge - more than 900 non-profits from coast to coast to coast shared their best ideas with us, and the ten projects selected as finalists are the best of the best.”

 “We need public support to win and every vote matters,” said Audra. “The Teleaudiology Cloud will change lives and create global impact. A vote for World Wide Hearing is a vote for humanity.”

Voting for the 2017 Google.org Impact Challenge|Canada runs from March 6 to March 28. The ten finalists will pitch their projects to a panel of judges at a closing event on March 30, 2017. A total of five winners will be chosen: four selected by the panel of judges and one winner chosen by public vote. The winners will receive up to $750,000 in grant funding and technical assistance from Google.org and the LEAP Centre for Social Impact.

To support World Wide Hearing, visit the contest website and vote now. For updates follow World Wide Hearing on Facebook and Twitter.

Hearing loss facts and stats

There are 1.3 billion people with hearing loss, of whom 360 million have disabling hearing loss. 80% of all people with hearing loss live in developing countries and in remote, hard-to-reach places. In many low-income countries there are few audiologists. In some countries, such as Honduras, there are none at all. Over 100 million children with hearing loss have limited or no access to audiology, speech therapy and rehabilitation. In the Inuit territory of Nunavut, Canada, there is only one full-time audiologist for a population living over a vast geographical expanse, despite having some of the highest rates of child hearing loss in the world.

About World Wide Hearing

World Wide Hearing Foundation International (“World Wide Hearing”) is a non-profit organization headquartered in Montreal that provides access to affordable hearing aids and services to children and youth in developing countries and underserved communities. Visit http://www.wwhearing.org/ to find out more about our projects and how we work with communities around the world.

About Google.org

Google.org is Google’s philanthropic arm that provides grants and support to non-profits. Google.org powers the Impact Challenges in regions around the globe. Visit google.org to learn more. 

March 6th-28th: World Wide Hearing a finalist in the Google Impact Challenge

Posted on Mar 06, 2017

World Wide Hearing is a finalist in Google.org’s Impact Challenge Canada, a nationwide voting competition to find and fund the most innovative non-profits that use technology to tackle tough social problems.

The project we hope to fund through this grant is the Teleaudiology Cloud, a technology solution that aims to connect children living in remote communities with audiologists and speech therapists who can assist with remote screening, hearing aid fitting, speech therapy and parent counselling.  All the details are available on the contest website.

A vote for our project is a vote for closing the hearing loss gap. Please vote now and help make this project a reality.

Impact Study Reveals Links Between Hearing Loss, Mental Health and Well-Being

Posted on Jan 01, 2017

World Wide Hearing has spent the last year investigating an issue no one has explored in a lower-middle income country: what is the impact of receiving a hearing aid on a person's life? After extensive research carried out between 2015 and 2016, we are pleased to announce the results of our findings in a new report entitled "Do hearing aids improve lives? An impact study among a low-income population in Guatemala."

The report highlights the powerful link between better hearing and improved mental health and quality of life. Its conclusions show that hearing, far from just affecting the ability to listen to sound, touches on nearly every aspect of a person's well-being. The need to intervene is urgent and the benefits are far-ranging.

Read more about the study’s key conclusions and download the report here.

Hear the World Foundation funds World Wide Hearing!

Posted on May 30, 2016

A major barrier to addressing hearing loss in Peru is identifying children who need our help.

We are thrilled to announce that thanks to a $100,000 Swiss Francs grant from Hear the World Foundation, World Wide Hearing Foundation International will train technicians to screen up to 30,000 children across Peru, using affordable mobile technologies.

Hear the World Foundation is the philanthropic arm of the Sonova Group, a leading manufacturer of hearing solutions. The Foundation grants endowments to groups, public institutions and private persons who work towards the improvement of the quality of life and environment of people with hearing loss and the prevention of hearing loss.

At World Wide Hearing, we'll use this grant money to train people in Peru and ensure long-term sustainability. We're really excited to have the opportunity to bring our training and screening expertise to yet another part of the world.

Thank you Hear the World Foundation for your support!