Placido Domingo is adding his name to the growing list of celebrities lending a hand to those in need. The recipients of the tenor’s latest project are the hearing-impaired. Domingo is teaming up with the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra for a global effort called “Hear the World.” The project is designed to raise awareness about hearing loss and to offer the latest technology to those in need – especially in developing countries.
Domingo hopes his efforts will be music to the ears of the hearing impaired:
“Music is my emotional need. I therefore feel sad for anyone who cannot hear music,” Domingo told reporters at a news conference announcing the new Hear the World Foundation. “Science has made incredible strides in helping people with hearing trouble, but the majority of the world’s population is still unaware of this fact.”
Science plays a big part in the tenor’s global effort in the form of hearing aids. The hearing devices will be delivered to poor children in the Guatemalan jungle. In addition, hearing-challenged youths in Pretoria, South Africa, will be taught how to function alongside classmates who hear; and youngsters in remote parts of the island of Fiji will be tested for the first time—thanks in part to the “Hear the World” project.
Closer to home studies show roughly 10% of Americans are hearing-impaired. And, according to the World Health Organization, at least 160 million people in developing countries are affected. The Hear the World Foundation will begin its global efforts in January. According to news reports, the foundation will not only be providing hearing aids to those in need, but it will also be focusing on educating the public about the social and emotional implications of hearing loss. Specifically, tackling the issue of some people’s reluctance to use a hearing-enhancing device for fear of appearing elderly or handicapped, or being ridiculed.
“There seems to be a stigma about being hard-of-hearing,” Domingo told reporters. “Let’s consider the difference between seeing trouble and hearing trouble. No one gives a second thought to wearing glasses in order to improve sight, but too many people would rather ask five times, ‘What did you say?’ than wear a hearing aid.”