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.