Hearing Healthcare Alliance
“Make ear and hearing care
accessible for all.”

WHO (2021) World Report on Hearing.

Our Mission

Just like the stirrup on a horse, the Hearing Healthcare Alliance gives social impact programs a leg up. We get them moving, and we support them through their journey. That’s why the stirrup (often known as the stapes) is represented in our logo. Situated in the middle ear, it’s not only the smallest bone in the human body but it also represents our goals: Supporting and initiating development in the area of hearing healthcare.

Why We Are Active

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432 million adults and 34 million children worldwide suffer from disabling hearing loss.

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8 out of 10 affected individuals live in middle- and lower-income countries.

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Nearly 60 % of hearing loss in children is due to avoidable causes: diseases like measles, rubella and mumps.

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By 2050, 700 million people worldwide are estimated to suffer from disabling hearing loss.

Effects of Hearing Loss

Isolation and Loneliness

The effects of hearing loss can lead to social isolation, loneliness, and stigma.

No Access to Education

In developing countries, children with severe and profound hearing loss have limited or no access to education, even schooling.

Limited Career Options

Later in life hearing loss dramatically influences people’s employment: making it impossible or limiting career options, leading to involuntary early retirement.

Negative Effects on Cognitive Development

Unaddressed hearing loss has a negative effect on cognition and general development in children.

Risk of Dementia

Hearing loss increases the risk of dementia by eight percent and is the number one modifiable risk factor for the disease.

Economic Burden

On an economic level, unaddressed hearing loss costs the world US$ 980 billion annually, 57% of which are attributed to low- and middle-income countries.

How We Are Active

“Health is an investment in the future: the cost of
doing nothing is one we cannot afford.”

WHO (2021) World Report on Hearing.

Capacity & Infrastructure Development

Poor infrastructure and insufficient capacity hinder the proper quality of prevention, diagnostics, and treatment of hearing loss. Coping with these challenges to create sustainable and ongoing positive changes is therefore crucial.

Hearing Screening & Early Diagnosis

Early diagnosis gives a higher chance for the best results of any intervention dealing with hearing loss. This makes (newborn) hearing screenings a significant success factor. In general, the earlier the problem is detected and diagnosed, the easier it will be to find solutions.

Training & Knowledge Transfer

The shortage of specialists with the necessary education and experience is one of the most pressing problems. International human resources and know-how should contribute to long-term advances and the formation of a constantly-growing cluster of professionals.

Awareness & Communication

Raising awareness at all levels is an indispensable part of any project aiming to improve the hearing healthcare system. Adequate communication of information about hearing loss, its causes, effects, possible prevention, and treatment measures is key to sustainable development in the area.

Where We Are Active

Pakistan

SAARC

Mali
Population: 19.1 Million
Language(s): Bambara, French, Arabic, Fulani, and others.
Capital city: Bamako
Human Development Index: 0.434 (Ranking: 184 out of 189)
Prevalence of hearing loss: ~1 million (4-5 %)

Mali is the eighth-largest country in Africa and its health and development indicators rank among the worst in the world.
Senegal
Population: 15.85 million
Language(s):French, Wolof, Balanta, and others.
Capital city: Dakar
Human Development Index: 0.512 (Ranking: 168 out of 189)
Prevalence of hearing loss: ~ 0.5 million (4-5 %)

Senegal is a heavily indebted poor country with a wide mix of ethnic and linguistic communities.
Ivory Coast
Population: 2.64 million
Language(s): French
Capital city: Yamoussoukro (de jure), Abidjan (de facto).
Human Development Index: 0.516 (Ranking: 162 out of 189)
Prevalence of hearing loss: ~100 thousand (4-5 %)

Economically, Ivory Coast is a comparatively stable country and the world’s largest exporter of cocoa beans.
Nigeria
Population: 211.4 million
Language(s): English, Hausa, Igbo, Yoruba
Capital city: Abuja
Human Development Index: 0.539 (Ranking: 161 out of 189)
Prevalence of hearing loss: ~ 9.5 million (4-5 %)

Nigeria is the most populous and economically powerful country in Africa. It is a diverse multiethnic country with more than 520 spoken languages.
Kenya
Population: 55 million
Language(s): English, Swahili
Capital city: Nairobi
Human Development Index: 0.601 (Ranking: 143 out of 189)
Prevalence of hearing loss: ~ 2.5 million (4-5 %)

Kenya has a lower-middle-income economy and a country with a very varied population, climate, and geography.
Ethiopia
Population: 117.9 million
Language(s): Afar, Amharic, Oromo, and others
Capital city: Addis Ababa
Human Development Index: 0.485 (Ranking: 173 out of 189)
Prevalence of hearing loss: ~ 5 million (4-5 %)

Ethiopia is the second-most populous country in Africa with a multiethnic population. Christianity is the largest religious community, followed by Islam.
Tanzania
Population: 61.2 million
Language(s): Swahili, English
Capital city: Dodoma
Human Development Index: 0.529 (Ranking: 163 out of 189)
Prevalence of hearing loss: ~3 million (4-5 %)

Tanzania is the most linguistically diverse country in East Africa and is the second-most populous country located entirely south of the Equator.
Uganda
Population: 42.7 million
Language(s): English, Swahili
Capital city: Kampala
Human Development Index: 0.544 (Ranking: 159 out of 189)
Prevalence of hearing loss: ~2 million (4-5 %)

Uganda is a country in the African Great Lakes region with a mostly Christian population.
Benin
Population: 11.7 million
Language(s): French, Arabic, English, and others
Capital city: Porto-Novo
Human Development Index: 0.545 (Ranking: 158 out of 189)
Prevalence of hearing loss: ~0.5 million (4-5 %)

Benin is a tropical nation, highly dependent on agriculture, and is a large exporter of palm oil and cotton.
Cameroon
Population: 26.5 million
Language(s): French, English, Cameroonian Pidgin
Capital city: Yaoundé
Human Development Index: 0.563 (Ranking: 153 out of 189)
Prevalence of hearing loss: ~1 million (4-5 %)

Cameroon is often referred to as "Africa in miniature" for its geological, linguistic, and cultural diversity.
Pakistan
Population: 216.6 million
Language(s): Urdu, English and others
Capital city: Islamabad
Human Development Index: 0.557 (Ranking: 154 out of 189)
Prevalence of hearing loss: ~20 million (7-8 %)

Pakistan is a country in South Asia. It is the world's fifth-most populous country and has the world's second-largest Muslim population.

South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC)
Nepal
Population: 28 million
Language(s): Nepali
Capital city: Kathmandu
Human Development Index: 0.602 (Ranking: 142 out of 189)
Prevalence of hearing loss: ~2 million (7-8 %)

Nepal is a multi-ethnic, multi-lingual, multi-religious, and multi-cultural state, mainly situated in the Himalayas.
Bangladesh
Population: 161 million
Language(s): Bengali
Capital city: Dhaka
Human Development Index: 0.632 (Ranking: 133 out of 189)
Prevalence of hearing loss: ~12 million (7-8 %)

Bangladesh is one of the most densely populated countries in the world. The country is now one of the world's largest modern garment exporters.
Bhutan
Population: 754.3 thousand
Language(s): Dzongkha
Capital city: Thimphu
Human Development Index: 0.654 (Ranking: 129 out of 189)
Prevalence of hearing loss: ~50 thousand (7-8%)

Bhutan is a predominantly Buddhist country. It was ranked first in SAARC in economic freedom, ease of doing business, peace, and lack of corruption in 2016.
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News

Stronger Together

The Hearing Healthcare Alliance is an organization based on the partnership of the Austrian Development Agency and a family-owned company MED-EL.

The Austrian Development Agency (ADA), the operational unit of Austrian Development Cooperation, seeks to ensure that sustainable development works to the benefit of all people in Africa, Asia, Southeast Europe and the South Caucasus. Together with partner countries, public institutions, civil society organisations and businesses, ADA is currently implementing projects and programs with a total volume of 500 million euros.

MED-EL is a family-owned company founded by two renowned scientists, Doctor Ingeborg Hochmair and Professor Doctor Erwin Hochmair in 1990. The company creates solutions to address all kinds of hearing loss. Its cochlear implants and other products help people with hearing loss all over the planet to (re)discover the beautiful world of sounds.



The HEARRING Group is an independent network of world-leading experts and centers dealing with all aspects of hearing restoration and implantable hearing devices. The mission of HEARRING is to spread the outcomes of their research initiatives and provide professionals with enriching and valuable content they can integrate into their clinical practice.

The World Hearing Center in Kajetany near Warsaw is a main unit of the Institute of Physiology and Pathology of Hearing – a scientific research center (category A+) as well as a highly specialized hospital providing comprehensive care for people with disorders of hearing, voice, speech, breathing or balance. The Institute had been established in 1996 by the Minister of Health. Prof. Henryk Skarżyński, M.D., Ph.D., dr. h.c. multi has been the Director of the Institute since ist establishment.

The MERF Institure of Speech & Hearing (MERF-ISH), situated in the heart of Chennai, was founded in June 2006. The Managing Director of Madras ENT Research Foundation (P) Ltd, Padma Shri Awardee Dr. Mohan Kameswaran and his wife Mrs. Indira. M. Kameswaran, established the Institute with a clear and determined vision to create a world class institute which provides quality education and training to professionals in the field of Audiology and Speech Language Pathology.

Medtronic LABS is the only health systems innovator that develops community-based, tech-enabled solutions for underserved patients, families, and communities across the world. By bridging hyper-local services with cutting-edge technology, we provide sustainable and localized healthcare solutions that produce measurable patient outcomes for all.


ADVANTAGE AUSTRIA, with its network of foreign trade offices, is the foreign trade promotion organisation of the Austrian economy. Under the auspices of the Austrian Federal Economic Chamber, ADVANTAGE AUSTRIA is Austria’s largest service provider and a key facilitator of Austrian export all over the world. ADVANTAGE AUSTRIA acts as an official lobby, representing the interests of its Austrian members both at home and abroad.

The Clinic of the International Center of Hearing and Speech Medincus was established in 2011 to provide comprehensive services to patients with otolaryngological problems, since then it has been developing rapidly. The hospital performs approximately 2,500 operations a year, we have patients from Poland and abroad. Highly qualified staff, modern equipment and comprehensive care enable us to provide medical services on the highest level.


ICEP is an independent Austrian development organisation with a business-oriented focus. ICEP works with partner organisations in Africa and Latin America as well as with Austrian companies and implements projects worldwide with the aim of getting more people actively involved in economic life. The corporAID platform is an initiative of ICEP.

PATH MEDICAL is a Germany based, innovative company that prides itself on cutting edge technologies to simplify the workflow for the healthcare professional. PATH MEDICAL has unique algorithms and technologies considered to be the new frontier in Audiology practice. As the industry innovator, we use our solid knowledge and experience to create an innovative unique portfolio with ease of use solutions for health care professionals.
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The HEARRING Group is an independent network of world-leading experts and centers dealing with all aspects of hearing restoration and implantable hearing devices. The mission of HEARRING is to spread the outcomes of their research initiatives and provide professionals with enriching and valuable content they can integrate into their clinical practice.

The World Hearing Center in Kajetany near Warsaw is a main unit of the Institute of Physiology and Pathology of Hearing – a scientific research center (category A+) as well as a highly specialized hospital providing comprehensive care for people with disorders of hearing, voice, speech, breathing or balance. The Institute had been established in 1996 by the Minister of Health. Prof. Henryk Skarżyński, M.D., Ph.D., dr. h.c. multi has been the Director of the Institute since ist establishment.

The MERF Institure of Speech & Hearing (MERF-ISH), situated in the heart of Chennai, was founded in June 2006. The Managing Director of Madras ENT Research Foundation (P) Ltd, Padma Shri Awardee Dr. Mohan Kameswaran and his wife Mrs. Indira. M. Kameswaran, established the Institute with a clear and determined vision to create a world class institute which provides quality education and training to professionals in the field of Audiology and Speech Language Pathology.

Medtronic LABS is the only health systems innovator that develops community-based, tech-enabled solutions for underserved patients, families, and communities across the world. By bridging hyper-local services with cutting-edge technology, we provide sustainable and localized healthcare solutions that produce measurable patient outcomes for all.


ADVANTAGE AUSTRIA, with its network of foreign trade offices, is the foreign trade promotion organisation of the Austrian economy. Under the auspices of the Austrian Federal Economic Chamber, ADVANTAGE AUSTRIA is Austria’s largest service provider and a key facilitator of Austrian export all over the world. ADVANTAGE AUSTRIA acts as an official lobby, representing the interests of its Austrian members both at home and abroad.

The Clinic of the International Center of Hearing and Speech Medincus was established in 2011 to provide comprehensive services to patients with otolaryngological problems, since then it has been developing rapidly. The hospital performs approximately 2,500 operations a year, we have patients from Poland and abroad. Highly qualified staff, modern equipment and comprehensive care enable us to provide medical services on the highest level.


ICEP is an independent Austrian development organisation with a business-oriented focus. ICEP works with partner organisations in Africa and Latin America as well as with Austrian companies and implements projects worldwide with the aim of getting more people actively involved in economic life. The corporAID platform is an initiative of ICEP.

PATH MEDICAL is a Germany based, innovative company that prides itself on cutting edge technologies to simplify the workflow for the healthcare professional. PATH MEDICAL has unique algorithms and technologies considered to be the new frontier in Audiology practice. As the industry innovator, we use our solid knowledge and experience to create an innovative unique portfolio with ease of use solutions for health care professionals.
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Recent Projects

Real-Life Fairy Stories: Hearing Healthcare Development in Bangladesh and Ivory Coast.

The miraculous hearing healthcare development in Bangladesh and Ivory Coast are like fairy tales. But the truth is that a lot of work went into making these fairy tales come true.

Hearing Healthcare Alliance started its activities in 2018 with the project “Hearing Healthcare Services for Bangladesh and Ivory Coast”. The project created a basis for and gave a much-needed leg-up up on the long journey to a better hearing health sector and quality of life for people with hearing loss in these countries.

Hearing Healthcare in Bangladesh

Bangladesh is an extremely densely populated country with about 165,000,000 people living there. It also makes the large proportion of people in Bangladesh with disabling hearing loss especially worrying. The National Survey on Prevalence of Hearing Impairments from 2013 showed that the exact number is 9.6 percent of the population.

The problem is made more severe by the extremely poor hearing healthcare system, and lack of facilities and specialists to treat people with hearing loss. The need for help is too great to ignore. But the complexity of the problem requires effort from very different organizations across a variety of fields.

The Hearing Healthcare Alliance successfully brought together multiple public and private organizations. This resulted in significant and tangible changes in the following areas:

Education & Training Support
On-going education programs increase the number of certified specialists on a constant basis in areas where there is an obvious lack, such as audiology and speech-language pathology. For this specialization, a program was set up to provide a full professional education that gives graduates the possibility to work in a prosperous area with high demand.

Group Women and Children sitting together
Data Collection

Data generated about hearing loss in school children has been used to create governmental awareness by sharing it with the Ministry of Health.

Bangladesh Contributors of Hearing Healthcare Allicane
Screening and Treatments

Screening devices are provided together with the training for the specialists to use them in the most adequate and efficient way.

Raising Awareness About Hearing Loss

Trainings, workshops, and seminars raise awareness of hearing loss effects and solutions among parents, caregivers, teachers, and others involved with children who have hearing loss. Further workshops help upgrade the skills of the specialists already working in the area.

Hearing Healthcare in Ivory Coast

In Ivory Coast, the situation with hearing loss is also a cause for serious concern. It is estimated that in Ivory Coast, 200,000 children have disabling hearing loss. A further 5,000 children are born with a severe-to-profound hearing loss every year.

Similarly to other developing countries, the situation is influenced by such challenges as shortages of necessary specialists, facilities, and equipment in the hearing healthcare sector. However, the major problem in Ivory Coast is the lack of information about hearing loss, its causes, effects, as well as diagnostic and treatment measures. Raising awareness is therefore the primary goal of the Hearing Healthcare Alliance in Ivory Coast. This, alongside other measures to face challenges in the hearing healthcare system, has been life-changing for many people involved.

Little Baby with Headphones listening

To put this ambitious plan into practice, the Hearing Healthcare Alliance found helpful and reliable partners in public and private organizations. Together they have achieved the following:

Introducing Training Programs

An academic audiology training program was created and is effectively functioning in accordance with the highest standards. The blended learning program is realized for the specialization in Otology.

Prior to this, the subject was non-existent in the whole of French-speaking Africa. It is especially important that educational programs are based on a blended-learning concept with an intense practical part. International experts share their know-how and transmit it further to spread it wider even after the planned program is completed.

New-Born Screening Program

The ENT society introduced a new-born hearing screening program. This program includes providing state-of-the-art screening devices to be used in clinics all over the country. Many specialists are trained to use them in the most efficient way. Through these measures, more than 3000 new-born babies have already been screened.

Screening in Schools

New strategies and tools have been developed to perform school-screening activities with particular focus on children under the age of 5.

Improved Data

The screening programs provide data for collection and analysis that help to raise awareness and enable further development.

Awareness and Education

Measures to raise awareness of the situation in the whole spectrum of hearing health have been implemented. Sharing information about hearing loss, its causes, possible consequences, and existing solutions is especially important among people who play an essential role in the rehabilitation process, such as parents, midwives, nurses, and teachers.

Award-Winning Program

Everything achieved in both countries has been highly appreciated, earning the project the 2020 TRIGOS award for International Commitment to Corporate Social Responsibility. One of the most prestigious business awards in Austria, the TRIGOS jury voted for the project’s efforts in contributing to the expansion of essential healthcare infrastructure in Bangladesh and Ivory Coast. They also remarked that the project is brilliantly designed and its social impact is admirable. The jury emphasized that it is an inspirational Best Practice example to the other businesses.

Award Winning Group TRIGOS award for International Commitment to Corporate Social Responsibility

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