Svante Borjesson conducted (Gothenburg, Sweden, 1962) AG Bell International, An organization that is part of the American Foundation Alexander Graham Bell for the deaf and hard of hearing, Which is an association founded by the aforementioned scientist and inventor. The project is the result of the merger of the British charity Clave in 2017 which in 2008 opened a delegation in Spain with the aim of improving the quality of people with hearing problems as well as the Foundation Hearing is the key, Which was created in 2011 as a result of the introduction of comprehensive birth screening, family welfare requirements and professional training. After years of devoting to the world of finance, especially venture capital, he left everything to join this project a decade ago, in order to improve disciplines that affect the integrated development of people with hearing disabilities and improve their living conditions. Spain has approximately seven million people with hearing problems, 15% of the population. For this reason, the foundation is promoting measures aimed at improving hearing health during the month of March.
Why did you decide to invest in this project?
I wanted to do something with my life, I wanted to do something of value, and I got stuck on this project, and my first impression was that I had no idea about this topic, and I also had a certain fear of the third sector, because almost everyone organizations work similarly. An NGO should be run as if it were a company. The benefits rather than economic are social. He wasn’t an expert, but the key is to surround yourself with the best. We fund ourselves privately through philanthropy. We have funders in the United Kingdom and the United States. This system is more developed in this country due to taxes.
Is it an outstanding issue in Europe?
Here we must improve taxes on donations. A favoritism law is needed to get all of this done. There is a cultural problem, taxes are high, and we demand the inclusion of all services to pay those taxes, and the question arises of why there are institutions dedicated to these issues that the state must actually cover. We believe that with the tax burden we bear, we should get the services, when not everything is covered. This is why there are subsidies.
Are deafness and hearing problems paid attention to in Spain?
A third of people have a problem with hearing, 1% of every 1,000 babies are born deaf and 5% of every 1,000 babies have a profound hearing problem. What we are looking for is that you have a life without limits. It is imperative to see how sign language is handled, which is still important because there are many adults who have learned this, and oral, which is more modern and improved thanks to technology. Early care is relevant, too. Before 1999, it was not discovered until a person began to speak, and it was too late to develop spoken language. Hearing issues should be given close attention to everyone. This is why we celebrate this month to discuss many problems that need to be solved.
One of the problems is the noise level that one experiences in homes and cities.
In northern Europe, homes are built of wood, but in the south they are built of cement, concrete, and bricks, which are less noise-absorbing materials compared to other countries. This does not help anyone. For example, acoustics in schools are important; When it comes to school failure, this has to be analyzed in part because of this. In the classroom, there are poor acoustics which make teaching difficult, and this in turn has repercussions in school failure. Productivity matters and the noisier the work environment, the less. Health is another related area, where the rest of the patient determines the number of days he or she will spend in the hospital.
Much is said about air pollution, but little about acoustics.
Little is taken into account. Little attention is paid to acoustic conditioning, for example, in bars and discos to address the well-being of those there. The volume of the music interferes with the smooth flow of conversations without shouting. There is more talk of insulation than acoustic conditioning, and little attention is paid to streets, although electrification will help a lot, but not because people have thought about acoustics.
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