Fundraising for a Cure

It's Good to Hear: A March 3 Call to Action

By Lauren McGrath

Hearing is one of our most precious links to the world around us.

But hearing and balance disorders affect more than 50 million Americans who urgently need better treatments and cures.

Consider Heather, 32, who has lived with hearing loss, tinnitus, and Ménière's disease for more than a decade. The conditions have threatened her job security, relationships, and mental well-being. Though treatments have made her healthier, she remains worried for her future.

Advancements in hearing and balance science funded by Hearing Health Foundation (HHF) will dramatically improve the lives of individuals like Heather. But this can only happen with your help.

To make more research possible, HHF invites our committed supporters to participate in Good to Hear, a 24-hour online giving period beginning Sunday, March 3 at 12:00 PM EST, at hhf.org/goodtohear.

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Thanks to an anonymous benefactor, all gifts received by Monday, March 4 at 11:59 AM EST will be doubled! Additionally, all credit card processing fees — ordinarily absorbed by HHF — will be waived! Any amount you can give will automatically have twice the influence on hearing loss research and awareness programs.

Heather and her family are among the millions of families worldwide affected by hearing loss.

Heather and her family are among the millions of families worldwide affected by hearing loss.

Good to Hear aligns with the celebration of World Hearing Day―the World Health Organization (WHO)’s annual March 3 campaign to raise awareness of hearing loss care and prevention. On a day when all eyes will already be on our ears, HHF is determined to engage as many supporters as possible to empower scientific progress.

We hope you’ll take advantage of this opportunity to make the greatest possible impact with your donation, and thank you for your consideration.

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You Can Lead the Way

By Col. John Dillard, U.S. Army (Retired)

Folks like you are the reason Hearing Health Foundation (HHF) has just completed its 60th anniversary year of groundbreaking work toward better treatments and permanent cures for hearing loss and tinnitus. Your donations make it possible.

Tinnitus and hearing loss, respectively, are the number one and number two disabilities reported by returning American military personnel.

Tinnitus and hearing loss, respectively, are the number one and number two disabilities reported by returning American military personnel.

Thank you for everything you do.

Living with noise-induced hearing loss and tinnitus following 26 years of service in the U.S. Army, I strongly share your desire for more scientific developments — both to restore hearing and to prevent its loss.

Every person serving on our Board of Directors is also connected to a hearing disorder in some way and shares our passion for progress. It is coming. As each year passes we learn more and more about key processes in the brain and auditory system.

We’re grateful for these discoveries that bring us closer to hearing regeneration in adult mice (as human proxies for now), and toward new treatments for tinnitus, Ménière's disease, and related conditions. But we know more must be accomplished for all of us to enjoy a better quality of life.

Your generosity can make possible the discoveries we — our veterans, our parents, our children, our spouses, our friends — urgently need.

Please, if you are able, give today to HHF to fund more innovative scientists in 2019-2020 and accelerate much-needed treatments and cures.

HHF will direct 100% of your gift toward the program your choose — Hearing Restoration Project (HRP), Emerging Research Grants (ERG), Ménière's Disease Grants (MDG), or Education. Thank you for your consideration and for being part of our mission.

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With Your Support for Hearing Research, We Can Do Great Work Together

By Sophia Boccard

Your support for Hearing Health Foundation (HHF) inspires me.

I’m thrilled we are moving toward better treatments and cures for hearing and balance conditions together.

I was diagnosed with a hearing loss at age 4 and with Usher syndrome (combined hearing loss and vision loss with balance difficulties) as an adult.

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I know what it is like to be frustrated by something that can make us feel powerless.

Since joining the Board of HHF and following the research programs — the Hearing Restoration Project (HRP), Emerging Research Grants (ERG) and Ménière's Disease Grants (MDG) — I’ve felt empowered.

The HRP has seen the partial regeneration of inner ear hair cells in adult mice and continue their work toward complete regeneration.

ERG and MDG scientists have made discoveries advancing knowledge of tinnitus, Ménière's disease, hyperacusis, Usher syndrome, and auditory processing disorders.

But more progress is needed. With your generosity, HHF can fund more research to accelerate the breakthroughs that will dramatically improve our lives.

Please, if you can, give to our life-changing work. HHF will direct 100% of your gift toward the program you choose. Thank you for your consideration and for being part of our mission.

Warm regards and happy holidays!

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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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