media release

Call for applications: Hear the World Sound Academy at Grand Canyon


Staefa, Switzerland, January 13, 2011

Hear the World, a global initiative by hearing system manufacturer Phonak, and Global Explorers, a non-profit educational travel organization, are now accepting applications for the first-ever Hear the World Sound Academy: Amplifying the Grand Canyon. The Sound Academy will integrate students of mixed hearing abilities to explore the role that sound plays in our lives by experiencing the diverse sound landscape of Grand Canyon National Park.

Sound deepens our experience of the world and the majesty of the Grand Canyon summons a connection with nature as few places can. However, this world-famous natural wonder faces a serious threat: noise pollution. For this reason, it is the perfect setting to educate students about the importance of natural sound and hearing preservation. Students of mixed hearing abilities will work together with acoustic scientists to collect sound data for the National Park Service while discovering an entirely new way of looking at sound as a precious resource and hearing as a cherished sense. Post-trip, the student ambassadors will launch an online campaign to educate the public about hearing and hearing loss based on what they learned, including a unique sound-themed podcast to be used as a learning tool by the National Park Service.

The Hear the World Sound Academy follows the 2010 Hear the World Amazon Expedition – where students explored the intricacies of sound in an environment where sound never sleeps, the Peruvian Amazon.

“Following the success of the Hear the World Amazon Expedition, we wanted to dive deeper into providing students with the understanding that hearing and sound is not something we should take for granted,” said Valentin Chapero, CEO of Phonak and founder of Hear the World. “In partnership with Global Explorers, we are excited to be able to offer this one-of-a-kind opportunity for students to gain the tools needed to be the next generation of sound ambassadors.”

About the Hear the World Sound Academy: Amplifying the Grand Canyon

The Hear the World Sound Academy provides a unique platform where students explore science, culture, leadership and service while at the same time raising awareness about the importance of hearing and sound preservation. More than a simple trip, the Hear the World Sound Academy will include:

  • A pre-academy curriculum on sound data collection and conservation issues in the Spring of 2011
  • A week-long rafting and hiking adventure exploring sound in the Diamond Down section of the Grand Canyon from July 31-August 7, 2011.
  • Limited scholarships are available for those who qualify.
  • A post-academy project where students will create their own hearing and sound awareness campaign

Hear the World Sound Academy applications are currently being accepted through February 26, 2011. Applicants must be between the ages of 15-20 on July 31, 2011, enrolled as a full-time student either the semester before or after travel and experience hearing loss or have an expressed interest in hearing awareness and education. Scholarships are available for those who qualify.

Participants will be accompanied by Bill Barkeley, a world-class mountain climber and one of the 15,000 people in the United States with Type 2 Usher’s Syndrome – the leading cause of deaf-blindness in the world. Bill also served as a mentor and leader in the 2010 Hear the World Amazon Expedition. Bill’s 2007 summit of Mount Kilimanjaro shattered expectations and confirmed his role as an advocate and inspiration for the hearing loss community.

To learn more, nominate a student or apply, please visit here