To us, acting responsibly means doing more than just the minimum and in many instances doing more than what is required by law. Working with responsibility is a priority for Demant and we will continue to develop our initiatives in the future. We take pride in empowering and supporting individuals and communities not only directly through our products, but also through projects and initiatives with the aim of improving the quality of life of people with hearing loss.
In 2019, William Demant Foundation, the majority owner of Demant A/S, donated a total of DKK 153.2 million to projects within research, education, culture and care. Below we present some of them briefly. DKK 105.6 million was donated to projects aiming at alleviating hearing loss all over the world and to education and research projects within hearing healthcare. Finally, DKK 47.6 million was allocated to a range of different projects in areas such as cultural activities, exhibitions and humanitarian healthcare projects.
With a grant of DKK 40 million from William Demant Foundation, the leading specialised hospital in Copenhagen, Rigshospitalet, will be able to offer patients with complicated audiological challenges specialised treatment and fund research within hearing loss and balance treatment.
An increasing number of young people are at risk of suffering from either tinnitus, de facto hearing loss or hearing sensitivity. In 2019, William Demant Foundation donated DKK 2 million to support the Danish Hearing Association in its efforts to prevent further hearing impairment among young people in Denmark.
William Demant Foundation has a long history of funding projects that promote research and the dissemination of knowledge in audiology and hearing impairment. In 2019, the Foundation financed 25 research projects, including two new PhD scholarships, which typically run 3-4 years. William Demant Foundation donated a total of DKK 11.5 million to leading universities around the world, namely Canada, New Zealand, South Africa, Korea, the UK, Italy and France. Approximately DKK 33 million was donated to Danish universities.
Demant’s contribution to securing better hearing health extend beyond the donations made by the Foundation. The increased attention to our sustainability and responsibility work means that various teams across the Group have taken action to contribute even further to society and people’s health and inspire their surroundings to do the same.
For example, an initiative from our hearing aid retailers puts hearing on the healthcare agenda by offering free hearing aids and providing crucial information and education about hearing healthcare and the consequences of untreated hearing loss. Each time someone gets their hearing tested in one of the clinics participating in the campaign, the Campaign for Better Hearing gets a donation. With the donation money we provide free hearing aids to people who need them but cannot afford them, based on nominations from the clinics. In 2019, we have screened 465,633 people with a Campaign for Better Hearing campaign code, raised more than USD 1.75 million, and helped 509 people by providing 865 free hearing aids.
Another example of our contribution, which expands beyond our products, is Oticon Medical’s new online community for Oticon Medical users. It premiered for American Ponto users (bone-anchored hearing systems) in November 2019 and will expand to Neuro users (cochlear implants) in France, in 2020. The purpose of Oticon Medical Friends is to create a worldwide connection to offer users and caregivers of users, such as parents and relatives, an opportunity to share knowledge and experiences with each other.