MINNEAPOLIS--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Starkey Hearing Foundation conducted a nearly 12-week run of hearing missions that included 13 countries across North America, Africa and the Middle East during the first quarter of 2014. The 30-city hearing mission provided more than 34,000 free, customized hearing devices to people in need. Academy Award winner and UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador for Peace Forest Whitaker; GRAMMY winner Garth Brooks; skateboarder Tony Hawk; NFL players Larry Fitzgerald, Robert Quinn and Derrick Coleman; Presidents Joyce Banda of Malawi and Ellen Johnson Sirleaf of Liberia; and many more worked side-by-side with the Foundation to help give the gift of hearing.
Starkey Hearing Foundation started the year by partnering with the GRAMMY Foundation for a hearing mission in Los Angeles, and after stops in the Dominican Republic and Haiti, it headed to New York the day before the Super Bowl to provide free hearing aids to people in need at Yankee Stadium. From there, the Foundation traveled to Africa to provide hearing care in Ghana, Senegal, Liberia, Malawi, Uganda, Kenya and Rwanda.
Whitaker joined Starkey Hearing Foundation in Uganda, where he helped fit more than 60 former child-soldiers that had been forced to fight in Joseph Kony’s Lord’s Resistance Army. After taking part in the hearing mission, he reflected, “I had the privilege of working with the Starkey Hearing Foundation to help people hear – they could hear the laughs of their closest ones so happy for them; they could hear the song of the wind blowing in the leaves of the trees… It is a true wonder, when you share those unique moments when a world suddenly opens to the mind of a person, expanding the connection to their community and their contribution to it. For these people, the hearing care provided by Starkey Hearing Foundation opens an ocean of life-changing opportunities."
Starkey Hearing Foundation finished its run of hearing missions by partnering with Physicians for Human Rights, Israel’s Sheba Medical Center and the American Task Force on Palestine to open up the world of sound to people in need in Jordan and the West Bank.
Hearing loss is a global epidemic, with disabling hearing loss impacting more than 360 million people worldwide, according to the World Health Organization. Yet with the help of a hearing device, hearing loss can often be corrected in many cases, giving an individual the opportunity to better connect with family, the community and the world around them.
“Hearing allows us to connect with and fully participate in the world,” said Bill Austin, founder of Starkey Hearing Foundation. “Everyone – New Yorkers, Ugandans, Israelis, Palestinians – wants to connect deeply with their loved ones. The gift of hearing brings us together to celebrate and share our human experiences and create understanding.”
Starkey Hearing Foundation uses hearing as a vehicle to improve the lives of individuals around the world. The foundation fits more than 100,000 hearing aids to people in need annually and has pledged to fit one million this decade.
About Starkey Hearing Foundation
Starkey Hearing Foundation uses hearing as a vehicle to reflect caring and change lives around the world. Disabling hearing loss affects more than 360 million people, including 32 million children, worldwide, yet many do not have access to the hearing devices that can help them. Starkey Hearing Foundation fits and gives more than 100,000 hearing aids annually, and as a member of President Clinton’s Global Initiative, it has pledged to fit one million hearing aids this decade. In addition to giving the gift of hearing through worldwide hearing missions, Starkey Hearing Foundation promotes hearing health awareness and education through the Listen Carefully campaign and provides hearing instruments to low-income Americans through the Hear Now program. For more information on Starkey Hearing Foundation, visit www.starkeyhearingfoundation.org.