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Starkey Hearing Foundation Returns to Israel-Palestine to Promote Peace Through Better Hearing

MINNEAPOLIS, March 7, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- The Starkey Hearing Foundation Israel-Palestine Hearing Mission of Peace once again brought Americans, Israelis and Palestinians together for a common cause to address a critical need. For the second time in less than a year, Starkey Hearing Foundation, which strives to change the social consciousness of hearing and hearing health care, visited the region in an effort to promote greater communication and understanding among local communities through improved hearing.

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The Starkey Hearing Foundation Israel-Palestine Hearing Mission of Peace II took place on February 25-28, 2012 and served hearing impaired children and adults. The mission took place in Tel Aviv, Israel and Tulkarem, Palestine (West Bank region). In addition to being the Foundation's second visit to the region, the visit marked the first time digital hearing aids were distributed as part of an international hearing mission. The digital, state-of-the-art hearing aids were donated by Starkey Hearing Technologies.

Joining Bill Austin, Founder of Starkey Hearing Foundation, and his team of experts and volunteers, were audiologists from second-time mission partner Sheba Medical Center, and acclaimed entertainer, actor and humanitarian, Harry Connick Jr. Assisting in the coordination and planning of the mission was Physicians for Human Rights-Israel, which was also involved in the 2011 Israel-Palestine mission.

"Our Foundation's mission is So the World May Hear – this is what we do every day of every year. So after seeing the true impact we were able to make in the lives of those individuals and communities we were able to help during last year's mission to the region, we were anxious to get back and do it again," said Austin. "In our ongoing desire to deliver the gift of hearing to those in need, we thank our Israeli partners and the Palestinian people for giving us this opportunity."

In fact, Hatim, a local volunteer from last year's hearing mission to Israel-Palestine, was so impacted by the experience that he returned to assist during this year's second mission. He let the Starkey team know that being a part of the mission experience gave him the courage and drive to go to engineering school, which he now attends. In regards to Starkey Hearing Foundation's two hearing missions to the region, Hatim said, "It shows that some people, they care about us."

Starkey Hearing Foundation's first mission to Israel-Palestine took place on May 24-26, 2011. The team spent three days fitting 1,000 Palestinians with hearing aids. Patients hailed from as far as Hebron in the South, to Jenin in the North and ranged in age from four to 75. The mission drew the attention of Israeli President Shimon Peres, who acknowledged Austin and the Foundation for their work during a gala dinner presented by Sheba Medical Center in the Foundation's honor.

According to Starkey Hearing Foundation, hearing loss is pervasive, affecting 63 million children alone worldwide. Yet, with the help of a hearing device, hearing loss can often be corrected in a majority cases, giving an individual the opportunity to better connect with their family, the community, and the world around them.

Hearing missions are the primary way Starkey Hearing Foundation realizes its goal So the World May Hear. Each year, the Foundation conducts hearing missions both in the U.S. and internationally, and has set a goal of fitting 1,000,000 hearing aids by the end of this decade. 

The Starkey Hearing Foundation team is committed to creating a sustainable model for its missions that provides hearing aid recipients with the tools and resources to properly maintain their new devices, including a year's supply of batteries, and instruction on how to properly care for and maintain them.  The Foundation also identifies local certified hearing health organizations to assist the recipients following the mission, if needed. 

About the Sheba Medical Center at Tel Hashomer

Sheba Medical Center at Tel Hashomer has been the Starkey Hearing Foundation's lead partner in the region, providing medical staff and technicians, ground support and local coordination for the mission. The Sheba Medical Center at Tel Hashomer is a university-affiliated tertiary referral hospital that serves as Israel's national medical center in many fields. Adjacent to Tel Aviv, it is the most comprehensive medical center in the Middle East, renowned for its compassionate care and leading-edge medicine. In addition to being a global center for medical education, it is also a major medical-scientific research facility that collaborates internationally with the bio-tech and pharmaceutical industries to develop new drugs, treatments and technologies.

About Physicians for Human Rights-Israel

Physicians for Human Rights-Israel has worked closely with the Starkey Hearing Foundation and Sheba Medical Center to organize patient identification in the area, as well as pre-mission efforts to collect ear molds for each of the recipients. PHR-Israel has also worked in the coordination of security efforts with the Palestinian authority to ensure the safety of the team and recipients throughout the mission. Physicians for Human Rights-Israel is a non-profit, non-governmental organization that strives to promote a more fair and inclusive society in which the right to health is applied equally for all. PHR-Israel stands at the forefront of the struggle for human rights and the right to health particularly, in Israel and its occupied Palestinian territory.

About Starkey Hearing Technologies

Starkey Hearing Technologies is a privately held, global hearing technology company headquartered in Eden Prairie, Minn. The company is recognized for its innovative design, development and distribution of comprehensive digital hearing systems. Founded in 1967, Starkey Hearing Technologies currently employs more than 3,500 people, operates 21 facilities and conducts business in more than 100 markets worldwide. The company develops, manufactures and distributes hearing aids via five distinct brands – Audibel, AudioSync, NuEar, MicroTech and its original brand, Starkey. For more information, visit

About Starkey Hearing Foundation

Starkey Hearing Foundation is striving to foster greater understanding among individuals and communities through hearing care by focusing on awareness, education, protection and treatment so the world may hear.  Hearing loss affects one in 10 Americans, and 63 million children worldwide, yet many do not have access to the hearing devices that can help them. From 2000 to 2010, Starkey Hearing Foundation fit more than 500,000 hearing aids to people in need in the U.S. and around the world. The Foundation has grown that commitment to more than 100,000 hearing aids annually and is dedicated to fitting 1 million hearing aids this decade.  In addition to giving the gift of hearing through worldwide hearing missions, Starkey Hearing Foundation promotes hearing health awareness through the Listen Carefully initiative and provides hearing instruments to low-income Americans through the Hear Now program.  For more information on Starkey Hearing Foundation, visit

Rosalie Hagel / Jennifer Herrera
M. Silver Associates Inc.

SOURCE Starkey Hearing Foundation
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