Fundraising for a Cure

You Are the Reason

By Elizabeth Keithley, Ph.D.

Your partnership with Hearing Health Foundation (HHF) is fundamental to new treatments and cures for hearing and balance conditions.

I am so grateful you are part of our mission—which, as a hearing scientist, I have always embraced.

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Support from you creates new possibilities for people of all ages, including brothers Anthony, Andersen, and Ayden, all born with bilateral hearing loss.

The boys wear hearing aids and are happy, social, and active students in a mainstream school.

They’re fortunate to have a mother who sacrifices for their hearing health, including five-hour round trip drives to their audiologist.

I am pleased to have witnessed so much extraordinary work funded by HHF that will better the lives of so many people just like these boys.

And I know someday, hearing restoration— which already exists in birds, fish, and young mice — will be possible for millions of folks who have hearing loss.

Progress cannot happen without you.

Please, if you are able, give today to bring us closer to realizing that dream.

Your generosity is urgently needed to accelerate new treatments and cures. We appreciate your consideration to give to HHF’s life-changing work.

Thank you and happy holidays!

 
 
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Cheer for Hearing Loss Research

By Lauren McGrath

Residents of Westport, CT and the surrounding area shopped and socialized at “Cheer for the Hearing Health Foundation” to support life-changing hearing loss research and awareness on Thursday, November 29.

Graciously hosted by Genevieve Bouchard at her women’s clothing boutique, Scout and Molly’s, proceeds from the all-day event benefited both Hearing Health Foundation (HHF) and the Staples High School (SHS) Cheerleaders in Westport.

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The shop was open to the public during the day with 10% of sales supporting HHF and another 10% going to the cheerleading team. In the evening, Ms. Bouchard and the SHS cheerleading team entertained a private group of attendees with food and beverages, raffle prizes, and a silent auction.

The SHS cheerleaders organize a fundraiser annually for their team in conjunction with one nonprofit organization. Ms. Bouchard selected HHF because her two daughters, Katelyn, 12, and Solenne, 10, are cochlear implant recipients.

A presentation from HHF staff was kindly captioned by Lisa Nuland, a Communication Access Realtime Translation (CART) provider at Bedford Middle School in Westport. In addition to giving an overview of HHF’s research, speaker Lauren McGrath highlighted the importance of hearing loss prevention and challenging stigma to an audience of mostly school-age children and their parents.

  Genevieve Bouchard (center) with HHF Development Associate Gina Russo and Marketing Manager Lauren McGrath.

Genevieve Bouchard (center) with HHF Development Associate Gina Russo and Marketing Manager Lauren McGrath.

HHF is sincerely grateful to the organizers for the opportunity to share our mission, and thanks the event guests for their interest in our work.

You, too, can host an event to help HHF advance progress toward better treatments and cures for hearing loss. There are many different fundraising event ideas from golf outings and bake sales, to birthdays and weddings, to marathons and triathlons. Email development@hhf.org to plan your event.

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Believe, Support, Share: #GivingTuesday 2018

By Lauren McGrath

Thank you for supporting Hearing Health Foundation (HHF), the nation’s largest charity funder of hearing and balance research, on this worldwide day of kindness. You can make HHF part of your #GivingTuesday celebration in one or more of the following ways:

Give Directly
We accept donations by phone at 212-257-6146, online, and by mail to:
Hearing Health Foundation
363 Seventh Ave, 10th Floor
New York, NY 10001

We pledge to use your gift wisely. Our responsible and effective donor stewardship practices have been commended by Better Business Bureau Wise Giving Alliance, Consumer Reports, Charity Navigator, CharityWatch, and GuideStar. All donors are recognized and acknowledged in our Annual Report.

Facebook Donations
Consider making a donation through our Facebook page, where your gift will be generously matched through a partnership with PayPal.

Workplace Giving
Many companies offer matching gift benefits to employees, doubling the value of their charitable contributions. Find out if your employer will take your support for HHF twice as far.

Start a Social Fundraiser
Unable to make a personal contribution? No problem. Enlist help from your friends, family, neighbors, colleagues, or classmates to give on your behalf through Facebook or Classy.

Shop Without Remorse
On Amazon, you can make your purchase through AmazonSmile and designate HHF as your charity of choice. If you are shopping on one of many other popular retailers’ sites like CVS, Nike, Etsy, Groupon, Macy’s, or Modell’s, you may allocate a percentage of your purchase to HHF through iGive.

Plan Ahead
Planned giving donors provide essential philanthropic support that enables Hearing Health Foundation (HHF) to remain the country’s largest nonprofit funder of hearing research. The Hearing Health Legacy was established to recognize and thank these extraordinary individuals. Learn more about planned giving options.

Let everyone know you supported HHF on #GivingTuesday by sharing this photo on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.

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A Birthday Wish

By Beth and Jeremy Hochheiser

In Beth’s words

Our son Jeremy recently turned 29, and on his Facebook page for his birthday he asked friends and family to donate to Hearing Health Foundation (HHF) to help reach his fundraising goal, which he exceeded.

Jeremy introduced us to HHF when he discovered its commitment to hair cell regeneration. He has a profound hearing loss and has been using hearing aids successfully since childhood.

We did not realize there was a problem with Jeremy’s hearing until he was 14 months old, mainly because he had been making sounds like a typical baby. Even as a baby, Jeremy had an infectious belly laugh and was always very attentive to what was going on around him.

But when we discussed a potential hearing issue with our pediatrician, he didn’t seem concerned. It was only after we went to see an audiologist that we finally got a diagnosis of profound congenital bilateral sensorineural hearing loss.

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Throughout Jeremy’s childhood we visited audiologists and doctors regularly. We found an otolaryngologist in New York City who specialized in hearing disabilities, and we kept up with the latest technology in hearing aids to understand options for Jeremy. As he got older, we always encouraged him to ask people to repeat themselves if he couldn’t hear or understand them.

Since Jeremy was diagnosed with quite a bit of residual hearing, the audiologist suggested an unconventional means of learning speech, the auditory-verbal approach introduced by Helen Beebe. Children learn to use the hearing they still have by being bombarded with speech consistently. I read books and introduced pictures by sitting next to Jeremy, not facing him, so that he could learn how to repeat words and speech sounds by hearing them rather than watching my face and lip-reading (speech-reading).

As a result, Jeremy’s speech developed as a typical hearing child’s would—by listening and repeating. We as his parents knew that developing Jeremy’s hearing to its fullest potential was imperative—the “if you don’t use it, you’ll lose it” theory—and that lip-reading could come later, as a supplement.

With his hearing aids Jeremy thrived, learned to play piano at age 7, and was even presented with an award at Carnegie Hall. He excelled at school and showed us that his hearing was not an issue or a factor that would get in the way of his education or competitive spirit. The natural belly laugh he had as an infant translated into a great sense of humor and positive outlook.

As a kid Jeremy liked to place one of his hearing aids on his tummy and say, “Mom, I’m so hungry, I can hear my stomach growling!” We’re so proud of him and his studies, the many activities he has thrown himself into, his thriving career, and his own family and baby to come.

In Jeremy’s words


Be Bold


My advice to anyone with hearing loss (and their loved ones) is to be bold, brave, and up front about your hearing. Accept it and wear it proudly, otherwise others may misinterpret who you really are, or even bully you. Hearing loss isn’t who you are.

I also tell those new to hearing loss to never stop using your mind. Your brain is your most powerful tool. I play chess and compete in Brazilian jiu jitsu, plus I love being a software engineer and doing math, exploring art, and enjoying nature. I love to learn. Being fully engaged keeps your brain active and fights off feeling down from hearing challenges.

Your Voice Matters

I remember being afraid to ask others to repeat themselves, but as I got older I learned to ask, even if I had to do it more than once. In this way, I show I am involved and can contribute meaningfully to the conversation. I earn respect for that. Your voice and opinions really do matter. What definitely won’t work is to hold back.

I consider myself outgoing and social, and sometimes when I ask someone to repeat themselves it can break the flow of the conversation, or cause frustration in a new acquaintance who doesn't understand. But it is infinitely more frustrating if you can’t fully participate.

New Challenges

My wife Lauren has typical hearing and sees me as a typical hearing person. But when I am tired and my hearing is down, I have to ask her to repeat herself or let me see her lips. Then when I am less tired and my hearing is better, I get frustrated again if Lauren is still making accommodations for me that I don’t think I need—and that can frustrate her, constantly having to switch! I love my wife for going with the flow and understanding what I need to hear.

Managing Hearing Loss

I find that there are days where I can understand what people are saying without looking, and then sometimes I have to rely on speech-reading. People have said to me, “You can hear better with your glasses on!”

The company I work at now has wonderful benefits and accommodations for their employees with needs. They hold meetings throughout the year among those who have requested accommodations in order to foster an inclusive environment, and they are proactive about making sure I have everything I need. It’s been very welcoming.

How I Discovered HHF

When I was in middle school, my parents and I went to a support group, and I met a couple of kids my age who also have a hearing loss. One of them happened to end up working for HHF, Laura Friedman (HHF’s former communications and programs manager).

I also followed news on the development of hair cell regeneration in the inner ear. I am encouraged about HHF’s Hearing Restoration Project consortium bringing together multiple labs and scientists. All of this is why I wanted to do my part to raise money for research toward the cure.

Beth Hochheiser lives in New Jersey, and Jeremy Hochheiser lives in Pennsylvania. HHF sincerely thanks the Hochheisers and their family and friends for their support.

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Painting for a Cure

By Nicolle Cure

My art is the fuel that ignites my passion for helping others. I use my art as a tool to create so that I can support the causes I believe in. Throughout my life, I have created several collections, for the most part biographical. To date, I've been blessed to have the opportunity to collaborate with animal welfare campaigns as well as education and health research initiatives. I am now proudly raising awareness about a particular cause that is dearest to my heart—hearing loss and vestibular (balance-related) disorders—after experiencing these conditions myself.

  Nicolle painting in her studio. Credit: Lia Selfridge

Nicolle painting in her studio. Credit: Lia Selfridge

On August 4, 2017, I woke up and noticed that the right side of my head was numb. I felt a strong pressure in my right ear and couldn’t hear anything as my ear felt blocked and full. It was really scary and very sudden.

Since that day, I have been in and out the hospital trying to decipher what is wrong with me and how to cure it. My first audiology appointment showed a profound hearing loss in my right ear, and after steroids injected into the middle ear for two months, I was able to recover the ability to hear low frequencies. However, the high frequencies only improved to severe (from profound), which is why I now suffer from tinnitus and I am extremely sensitive to environmental sounds.

My hearing loss was only the beginning. During the initial months, I also suffered from BPPV (benign paroxysmal positional vertigo), debilitating vertigo episodes, chronic migraines, constant nausea, and dizziness. My balance was completely off and I swayed to the right when walking. It felt like I was walking on quicksand. Another symptom that persisted for months was chronic fatigue, to the point that I could not get out of bed on certain days. My body felt heavy as if I had a slab of concrete on top of me.

These “invisible conditions” can really affect patients an emotional level. I was completely isolated from the world, I didn’t want to see anyone, and I avoided phone calls and going out. I’ve always been a very independent person and the fact that I couldn’t do anything or go anywhere made me feel frustrated most of the time.

My boyfriend Felipe, a communications professional and music producer, has been the greatest companion, helping me thrive and heal with his patience and love, and for that I am truly grateful. We share a passion for music and going to concerts, but from the time of my hearing loss I avoid loud places and crowds in general. I know music to him means as much as art to me, so I now wear custom musician’s earplugs. I am also investigating a hearing aid for my right ear, which my audiologist recommended after a recent tinnitus assessment to manage my tinnitus and sound sensitivity. Vestibular rehab therapy helped me regain my balance, as I had difficulty walking or even just standing still.

And of course my art has been my most powerful coping mechanism. While I am in the process of creating, I can focus better and forget about my symptoms. Painting makes me ignore my tinnitus even for a short period of time.

This experience has given me the opportunity to create awareness about invisible conditions. It is a fuel that continues to ignite my passion for the arts and for helping others. It has given me a sense of purpose—I truly feel the need to wake up and create something beautiful to deliver a powerful message of positivism in spite of my symptoms.

In “The Colors of Sound” painting collection, I am trying to capture emotions and moods in sound. Using his recording equipment, Felipe showed me the range of frequencies that I was not able to hear anymore. It was a bizarre experience to be able to see the sound waves and frequencies that I could no longer hear. These ink paintings replicate the energy and movement of what was now missing.

Behind every invisible illness there are wonderful individuals with the will to thrive and heal. Helping others has been incredibly therapeutic for me, and I gained so much support from people, too. I want to create a space for dialogue so people can be open about their conditions and find treatments and relief and know that they are not alone in this journey.

Nicolle Cure is an artist based in Miami. “The Colors of Sound” appeared at Art Basel in Miami Beach (December 2017–February 2018).

A better quality of life for Nicolle—and so many others—is dependent on research funding for HHF’s groundbreaking scientific programs.

Please, if you are able, make a contribution to the research that will someday make it possible for Nicolle and millions of others to reclaim their independence.

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HHF a Beneficiary of 2018 Cantor Fitzgerald 9/11 Charity Day

By Lauren McGrath

Hearing Health Foundation (HHF) graciously took part in Cantor Fitzgerald’s annual Cantor Charity Day on Tuesday, September 11 in New York City, marking the organization’s sixth year of participation in the high-profile philanthropic event. Represented by celebrity ambassador NHL Hall of Famer Martin “Marty” St. Louis, HHF will receive a share of the funds raised to support hearing and balance research by way of the Cantor Fitzgerald Relief Fund.

  From left: Nadine Dehgan, Marty St. Louis, Paul Orlin

From left: Nadine Dehgan, Marty St. Louis, Paul Orlin

The Relief Fund was originally established to aid the families of the Cantor Fitzgerald’s 658 employees who perished in the World Trade Center attacks. The Fund has since expanded to support victims of terrorism, natural disasters, and emergencies, wounded military personnel, and other charitable causes, including HHF. Since its 2001 formation, Charity Day has raised $147 million for worthy causes.

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Accompanied by HHF CEO Nadine Dehgan and Board Member Paul Orlin, Marty enthusiastically helped brokers on the trading floors close deals on the phone—all for charity—at both the BGC Partners and GFI Securities offices in Manhattan. Other celebrity ambassadors included Alec Baldwin, LaChanze, Tony Danza, Gayle King, Lucy Hale, Bill Clinton, and Saquon Barkley.

Marty’s own foundation has supported HHF’s life-changing work in the past and HHF was especially thankful that he dedicated his time to serve as an ambassador for another year. On the day of the event, he tweeted, “I’m proud to help Hearing Health Foundation. Life is beautiful but much better when you can hear what’s around you. Let’s keep pushing.”

“I am grateful to Marty and to Cantor Fitzgerald for making this day possible,” said Nadine Dehgan. “HHF will keep pushing for better treatments and cures and will continue to be a resource to the millions of Americans who live with hearing and balance conditions.”

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The Inner Ear Circle

By Lauren McGrath

  Credit: Jane G. Photography

Credit: Jane G. Photography

Hearing Health Foundation (HHF) exists to better the lives of individuals with hearing and balance conditions through groundbreaking research.

Reliable research outcomes require time and stability. “Research is not effective when it happens in fits and starts. Consistency is necessary to find safe and effective ways to promote lasting advancements for hearing in humans,” explains HRP scientist Jennifer S. Stone, Ph.D.

Making a monthly contribution is a powerful way to ensure that research in the program of your choice—Hearing Restoration Project (HRP), Emerging Research Grants (ERG) or Ménière's Disease Grants (MDG)—can thrive. You can also designate your gift to the area of greatest need to help us reach our program goals.

When you start your monthly commitment to HHF, you will automatically become a member of our Inner Ear Circle, helping to ensure our researchers have the resources needed to sustain their work without interruption.

Additional benefits of the Inner Ear Circle include:

  • Reduced administrative efforts and cost

  • Financial security for your contribution

  • Environmental friendliness because we print fewer mailings

  • Special recognition in HHF’s Annual Report

To make your first gift as a member of the Inner Ear Circle, please visit www.hhf.org/monthly.

If you wish, you may commence your monthly commitment by phone—212.257.6140 (voice) or 888.435-6104 (TTY)—or by mailing a completed form to:

Hearing Health Foundation
363 Seventh Ave 10th Floor
New York, NY 10010

Please, if you are able, begin a monthly contribution to HHF’s life-changing research and awareness today. 100% of your donation will sustain critical programming. HHF has earned top ratings with all charity watchdogs, and made the Consumer Reports list of Top Five Charities for Your Donation, providing assurance your contribution will be well-invested.

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Thank you for your consideration and support.

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Celebrate Founder’s Week Starting August 1

By Nadine Dehgan

This August marks the 100th birthday of Hearing Health Foundation (HHF)’s late founder, Collette Ramsey Baker. She formed our foundation 60 years ago in gratitude for surgery that restored her own hearing. Her legacy lives on as we continue to fund innovative hearing and balance science. HHF exists to better the lives of the millions who live with hearing and balance disorders, and we would like to acknowledge those who are most important to you.

  June 1966: Collette Ramsey Baker (left) is presented with an award at the Rotary Club of New York.

June 1966: Collette Ramsey Baker (left) is presented with an award at the Rotary Club of New York.

To celebrate the spirit of Mrs. Baker’s birthday, HHF will dedicate a week to your loved ones and those connected to hearing loss. When you make a gift to HHF between August 1 and August 7 in honor of, or in memory of someone special, we will notify them (or their family) of your generosity and add their name to our “Honor Wall” page. As you share your names and stories, we will see the many faces of hearing loss.

Commemorate the most extraordinary people in your life by participating in Founder’s Week and dedicating a gift to hearing research in their honor.

As always, 100% of your gift will be invested in life-changing research and awareness programs, and you can choose where to direct your donation. Thank you for supporting our important work - we couldn’t do it without you!

Make your tribute gift at www.hhf.org/foundersweek beginning August 1, where you will have the opportunity to tell us who you are recognizing and why and to submit their photo.

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The Countdown to Operation Regrow

By Gina Russo

Hearing Health Foundation (HHF) is counting down the days until the start of Operation Regrow, a two-week movement when you can help us to further progress toward better treatments and cures for hearing loss.

Beginning Tuesday, June 5, at 8:00 AM EDT, you can support the team of scientists conducting life-changing research to restore lost hearing, and more importantly, your generosity will have double the impact! All contributions received by 11:59 PM EDT on Tuesday, June 19 will be matched by an anonymous donor.

  Transverse section through the embryonic day 20 chicken utricle (inner ear organ) at 20X magnification. Photo by Amanda Janesick, Ph.D., of the lab of Stefan Heller, Ph.D., a Hearing Restoration Project consortium member

Transverse section through the embryonic day 20 chicken utricle (inner ear organ) at 20X magnification. Photo by Amanda Janesick, Ph.D., of the lab of Stefan Heller, Ph.D., a Hearing Restoration Project consortium member

With just five days remaining until launch, you can share the five most important facts about Operation Regrow with friends and family:

  1. The Hearing Restoration Project (HRP) is the HHF-funded scientific consortium dedicated to finding biological cures for hearing loss.

  2. Damage to the sensory cells in the human inner ear causes irreversible hearing loss.

  3. The HRP members know that the key to hearing loss cures is the human ability to regrow cells in the inner ear. This phenomenon is already possible in certain species. The HRP has observed cell regrowth in chickens, fish, and young mice.

  4. The HRP is comprised of 15 senior scientists who work collaboratively by openly sharing data and ideas, and this collaboration helps to speed up the research process.

  5. HHF maintains stellar charity ratings from Better Business Bureau Wise Giving Alliance, Guidestar, Charity Navigator, and CharityWatch for using 100% of donations to support critical research, ensuring that all Operation Regrow contributions will directly help the HRP.

If you are able to make a gift to Operation Regrow, please visit www.hhf.org/regrow between June 5 and June 19. Gifts may also be made by phone during business hours, 9:00 AM to 5:30 PM EDT, at 212-257-6140. We’ll be sure to keep you updated on our progress. Thank you for supporting HRP and hearing health!

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Security Updates to HHF Donation Page: Action Required

By Lauren McGrath

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Hearing Health Foundation (HHF) is committed to maintaining transparency with our constituents. In addition to our pledge that all contributions are well-invested—100% of all donations benefit our critical research and awareness programs—HHF promises to uphold data security best practices with online gifts.

We request that you make two simple updates to you ensure you can donate to HHF online in the future. Follow the links included here for guidance making the changes:

  1. Update your operating system (OS) on your Apple or Windows computer to the most up-to-date version.
     
  2. Update your internet browser to the most up-to-date version.

Our online giving page will be inaccessible to users who do not complete these changes by March 15, 2018.

The updates are required because today's industry standard security features are no longer compatible with older systems. Ensuring that your OS and internet browser are fully up-to-date is the best way to protect your donation and guarantee it is processed safely. This is an industry-wide requirement to ensure the highest level of security when processing all financial transactions.

Please contact us at info@hhf.org if you require assistance making these changes or have any questions about the security of our donation platform.

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