Hear the World sets a Guinness World Record

David Kirkwood
December 3, 2012

LONDON—The Hear the World Foundation has set a Guinness World Record for staging the world’s largest photographic awareness campaign. Since 2006 when Sonova, parent company of the world’s largest hearing aid manufacturing group, created the foundation, scores of international celebrities have served as ambassadors. Each has been photographed in the campaign’s signature pose—with a hand cupped behind one ear–symbolizing conscious hearing.

The mission of the campaign is to raise public awareness of the importance of hearing and the consequences of hearing loss, as well as to provide support for those affected.

The Hear the World photographer is Bryan Adams, a Canadian who first gained fame as a singer-songwriter. For many years, he has been using his musical and photographic talents in support of numerous humanitarian efforts. In 2006 he set up the Bryan Adams Foundation, which is dedicated to improving the quality of lives across the world.


Placido Domingo, center, accompanied by then-CEO of Sonova Valentin Chapero, took up the mantle of the first ambassador for the Hear the World Campaign at an event held in 2006 at Carnegie Hall.


Over the past six years, more than 60 people who have achieved world renown in their careers have joined the Hear the World Foundation’s campaign. Recently, that led the London-based Guinness World Records to recognize Hear the World as the new record holder in the category of  photographic awareness campaigns.

Founded in 1955 by the management of Guinness Breweries, Guinness World Records has become well established as the world authority on the extremes of human achievement and in the natural world

The Hear the World Foundation was launched in November 2006 at New York’s City’s Carnegie Hall. There, Placido Domingo, one of the opera world’s most acclaimed tenors, became the foundation’s first ambassador. At the event, Domingo explained that as a musician he is keenly aware of just how important good hearing is for ensuring quality of life.

Among those who have joined Domingo as ambassadors are Sting, Bobby McFerrin, Harry Belafonte, Tilda Swinton, Jude Law, Annie Lennox, Diane Kruger, Julianne Moore, Ben Kingsley, Common, Isabelle Huppert, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Smokey Robinson, and Renee Zellweger.

Lukas Braunschweiler, CEO of Sonova and president of the Hear the World Foundation, commented on the recognition the campaign has been accorded. “This unique accolade from Guinness World Records is an acknowledgment of our achievement to date. It will spur us on to step up the success of Hear the World.”

Bryan Adams

Bryan Adams, who has taken all the photographs for the campaign, noted, “As a musician, the Hear the World initiative is particularly close to my heart as it helps people to appreciate and protect their hearing. The fact that my contribution to Hear the World has now led to official recognition as the world’s largest photographic awareness campaign is great proof of the success of our partnership.”



In addition to raising awareness, the Hear the World Foundation is engaged in a worldwide campaign for equal opportunities and a better quality of life for people in need because of hearing loss. It does this by providing financial aid and supplying hearing instruments, with a particular focus on promoting projects that help children with hearing loss to develop at a rate appropriate to their age.

To date, it has been involved in over 45 projects across five continents and has given hundreds of people with hearing loss the chance to enjoy a better life.

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