Starkey Serves as Exclusive Hearing Health Partner for the Special Olympics Unified Cup Detroit 2022

Starkey Cares and Special Olympics International partnership increases access to hearing health services worldwide for individuals with intellectual disabilities

Eden Prairie, Minnesota (August 4, 2022) – Starkey is proud to serve as the exclusive global supplier of hearing instruments for the Special Olympics Healthy Athletes® Healthy Hearing program at the 2022 Special Olympics Unified Cup, presented by Toyota and modelled after the FIFA World Cup™. The competition, which began July 31 and runs through August 6, is being held in Detroit, Michigan, and welcomes over 300 footballers (soccer players) with and without intellectual disabilities from over 20 nations. Starkey’s participation is a continuation of the global partnership made with Special Olympics International earlier this year, which pledged to increase access to hearing health services worldwide for individuals with intellectual disabilities; and follows Starkey Cares participation in the 2022 Special Olympics USA Games this past June, which provided over 100 Special Olympics athletes with new Starkey hearing aids.

“Starkey Cares is proud to partner with Special Olympics at the 2022 Unified Cup,” said Starkey Owner and Chairman, Bill Austin. “Together, we are providing athletes with the hearing health resources they need to be connected to their coaches, teams, and the people who love and support them.”

In partnership with Special Olympics International, Starkey Cares is providing life-changing health services and hearing instruments to Special Olympics athletes around the world, while helping make healthy hearing more inclusive of people with intellectual disabilities. At the 2022 Unified Cup, Starkey is providing personalized hearing aids, follow-up recommendations, and education on the importance of regular hearing screenings for athletes participating in the Special Olympics Healthy Athletes Healthy Hearing program. Prior to the global partnership launch this March, Starkey had a long-standing relationship with Special Olympics, providing athletes with hundreds of personalized hearing aids at the Special Olympics World Summer Games in Abu Dhabi 2019, and the Special Olympics World Games in Los Angeles 2015.

“We are thrilled to have Starkey Cares with us at the 2022 Unified Cup in Detroit, and we are grateful for their commitment to show up and support Special Olympics athletes and their hearing health needs,” says Dr. Alicia Bazzano, Chief Health Officer, Special Olympics International. “To date, Starkey and Special Olympics have delivered over 2,700 hearing screenings to athletes and nearly 500 personally fitted hearing instruments. It is thanks to Starkey Cares that so many of our athletes can continue to succeed on and off the field.” 

This global event revolves around the common mission of celebrating the joy of sport and the power of inclusion through camaraderie, competition, and breaking down social barriers. The transformational concept of unified was inspired by a simple principle: training together and playing together is a quick path to friendship. The men’s and women’s Division One finals will be streamed live at 2:00 p.m. EST on Saturday, August 6, from Keyworth Stadium – home of the Detroit City Football Club – to hundreds of millions of viewers across the globe by ESPN, the Global Broadcast Partner of Special Olympics International and the Global Presenting Sponsor of Special Olympics Unified Sports®.

ESPN3 can be accessed by visiting ESPN will also be producing an hour-long Unified Cup special that will air on Saturday, August 13, at 3 p.m. EST on ESPN2 titled Special Olympics Unified Cup Detroit 2022.

About Starkey

Starkey is a privately held, global hearing technology company headquartered in Eden Prairie, Minnesota. Owned by Bill Austin since 1967, Starkey is known for its innovative design, development, and distribution of comprehensive digital hearing systems. Led today by President and CEO Brandon Sawalich, Starkey has more than 5,000 employees, operates 29 facilities and does business in more than 100 markets worldwide. Learn more at

About Special Olympics International

Founded in 1968, Special Olympics is a global movement to end discrimination against people with intellectual disabilities. We foster acceptance of all people through the power of sport and programming in education, health and leadership. With more than six million athletes and Special Olympics Unified Sports® partners in over 190 countries and territories and more than one million coaches and volunteers, Special Olympics delivers more than 30 Olympic-type sports and over 100,000 Games and competitions every year.

Engage with us on: Twitter, Facebook, TikTok, YouTube, Instagram, LinkedIn and our blog on Medium. Learn more at

About Special Olympics Michigan

Special Olympics Michigan, Inc. (SOMI) provides year-round sports training and athletic competition to over 23,000 children and adults with intellectual disabilities and Unified partners (athletes without disabilities). Athletes develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage, and experience joy while participating in the sharing of gifts, skills, and friendship among their families, Special Olympics athletes, and the community. SOMI is a non-profit organization supported almost entirely by corporate and individual gifts and events. The generosity of Michigan organizations, individuals, and state-wide businesses enable the program to continue.

About Special Olympics Unified Cup Detroit 2022

The Special Olympics Unified Cup Detroit 2022 is made possible thanks to support from sponsors Toyota, ESPN, Ally Financial, Gallagher, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan and Blue Care Network, The Coca-Cola Company, Jersey Mike’s Subs, The Real Estate One Charitable Foundation and Walmart. For more information, visit and stay up to date on our social media channels: Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

Media Contact

Karen Spaeth
VP of Communications