Athleticism and heartwarming in Berlin at the Special Olympics World Games



Starkey UK    Technical Director Paul Lamb at the Special Olympics: "a highlight for me, not only professionally but personally.”
© Starkey Hearing

A first for Berlin, Germany - from June 17 to 25 - the Special Olympics World Games landed on an #UnbeatableTogether (#TogetherUnbeatable) motto, bringing 6,500 athletes competing in 26 different sports. The Healthy Athletes programme offered all participants free comprehensive health checks including, if necessary, fitted hearing systems.

Unlike the much better known Olympic and Paralympic Games, the Special Olympics Games are not all about athletic performance, but also recognition and participation in society for people with mental and multiple disabilities, with all participating athletes affected in some way.

Starkey volunteers and VIP ambassadors and guests

The official opening ceremony underlined the social and political relevance of inclusion. The parade of around 190 delegations into the Berlin Olympic Stadium was attended by high-ranking guests such as Federal Chancellor Olaf Scholz, Berlin’s acting mayor Kai Wegner and former pro basketball star Dirk Nowitzki. The Blue Man Group provided a spectacular music and laser show.

© Starkey Hearing      Team of Starkey volunteers at the event

And the blue colours of Starkey Hearing were much in evidence as official supplier of hearing devices, and with a team of volunteers who went home fulfilled professionally and moved personally by their interaction with the participants.

As part of the comprehensive health checks carried out free on athletes, numerous ENT doctors, medical specialists, trainees, and hearing care professionals from a wide variety of countries offered the athletes comprehensive hearing screenings, direct care and recommendations for aftercare.

Manufacturer Starkey played a very special role: in cooperation with a total of 42 volunteers, the US company once again acted as the exclusive supplier of hearing systems for the “Healthy Hearing” program. According to a press release from the Special Olympics World Games, Starkey in Berlin provided around 300 athletes from all over the world with hearing systems from its latest Evolv AI product family, and established contact with hearing aid acoustics partners in their respective home countries in order to not only present them with optimal care location, but also to ensure long-term care and professional aftercare.

© Starkey Hearing      Starkey Hearing Chief Innovation Officer Dave Fabry (centre) helped fit some 300 athletes with hearing aids.

Starkey’s indefatigable Chief Innovation Officer Dave Fabry flew over to take an active part in fittings, while Starkey UK’s Technical Director Paul Lamb played a full role in the wax management, hearing test, and fittings.

“Participating in the Special Olympics with Starkey Cares was truly a highlight for me, not only professionally but personally,” said Lamb.

© Starkey Hearing      While athletes in Berlin took first, second, and third on the medal rostrum, many others sat for hearing aid fittings courtesy of Starkey.

“Day to day we take a lot for granted including the opportunity to hear and receive help when we need it. The Starkey Cares team met many athletes who we could provide the gift of hearing for the first time and help changed their outcomes.  It was heart-warming to see the athletes and coaches respond and see what could be achieved and to help their athletes communicate and perform better with the gift of hearing,” continued Lamb, thanking the group of Starkey volunteers who helped fit the athletes.

© Starkey Hearing      Starkey UK Technical Director Paul Lamb and a Special Olympics athlete in Berlin.

Support from many quarters

The Dreve company also campaigned for better hearing during the nine-day event in Berlin. Side by side with Starkey, the industry pioneer in the field of 3D printing sent orders for express production of very special ear moulds, often necessary for people with physical disabilities. The Academy for Hearing Acoustics (AFH), part of the Hearing Acoustics Campus in Lübeck, also sent a team to the Special Olympics to offer hearing screenings as part of the Healthy Hearing program.

Source: Audio Infos Germany/Audiology News UK