Fundraising for a Cure

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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HHF’s Fiscal Practices Endorsed by Consumer Reports for Second Consecutive Year

By Nadine Dehgan

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Source: Getty Images

Source: Getty Images

Hearing Health Foundation (HHF), the largest nonprofit funder of hearing and balance research, is thrilled to be recognized by Consumer Reports as one of the “Best Charities for Your Donations” for the second consecutive year.

Consumer Reports’ prominent charity roster, released annually to facilitate informed giving, includes 11 categories ranging from Animal Welfare to Youth Development. HHF is acknowledged as a top-rated nonprofit in the Blind and Hearing-Impaired category, and the only organization listed whose mission is to better the lives of those with hearing loss.

The “Best Charities for Your Donations” are determined using metrics from three major charity watchdogs: BBB Wise Giving Alliance, Charity Navigator, and Charity Watch. These watchdogs independently research charities’ financial histories and moral standards to evaluate how donors’ contributions are used. Each of them have previously highlighted HHF for its excellence in fundraising, governance, effectiveness, and financial standards.

HHF’s superior charity ratings and our placement on the Consumer Reports list illustrate how we pursue our mission in a financially responsible way. These accolades differentiate HHF from its peers and assure donors we are worthy of their trust.

HHF exists to better the lives of those with hearing loss by funding life-changing research and through our awareness and education programs. Our endorsements from Consumer Reports and charity watchdogs show our commitment to our mission. We have achieved many scientific milestones in our 60 years, but more work is needed. We are grateful to those who give their time and financial resources in pursuit of better treatments and cures for hearing and balance conditions.

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HHF Partner Hyperacusis Research Shares 14-Year-Old’s Heartbreaking Story to Fight Noise Intolerance

Photo Credit: Hyperacusis Research

Photo Credit: Hyperacusis Research

By Lauren McGrath

Hearing Health Foundation (HHF) Emerging Research Grants (ERG) grant funder Hyperacusis Research—a nonprofit dedicated to developing effective treatments for hyperacusis and to funding research that will eliminate the underlying mechanisms that cause hyperacusis—has a new reason to fight to cure the noise intolerance disorder.

Cindy, 14 years old, has suffered from hyperacusis since she was blasted in the face with an airhorn one year ago. The blast almost immediately prompted “a burst of pain in [her] ear” that made it “feel like someone was stabbing [her].” Six months and several doctors’ visits later, an occupational therapist recognized her symptoms and diagnosed her with the disorder, which causes Cindy to experience pain at low levels of sound relative to what a person with typical hearing can withstand.

Once a happy and social eighth-grader, Cindy now rarely leaves her home. Secluded from the painful sounds of the outside world, her house has become “her sanctuary,” her mother explains. Her intolerance of everyday noises like the school cafeteria and teachers’ voices has forced her to leave public school in exchange for an isolating homeschool experience. “The thing I hate most is that I can’t see friends,” Cindy shares.

Cindy suffers from one of four hyperacusis subtypes called pain hyperacusis. The other three types, according to Hyperacusis Research, are loudness hyperacusis (which causes moderately intense sounds to be perceived as very loud), annoyance hyperacusis (which causes negative emotional reactions to sounds), and fear hyperacusis (which prompts an aversive response to sounds that causes anticipatory response and avoidance behavior). Specific medical treatments, at the moment,  do not yet exist for pain hyperacusis.

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Those inspired to help Cindy can donate to Hyperacusis Research to advance the ontological knowledge of hyperacusis through research grants, including those awarded to HHF’s ERG investigators.

Since 2015, Hyperacusis Research has generously funded grants for a total of five ERG investigators focused on hyperacusis at the University at Buffalo, Oregon Health and Science University, and Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary. You can learn more about our ERG researchers’ efforts to better understand the mechanisms, causes, diagnosis, and treatments of hyperacusis and severe forms of loudness intolerance here.

We need your help supporting innovative hearing and balance science through our Emerging Research Grants program. Please make a contribution today.

 
 
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You Can Change Lives

By Nadine Dehgan

On behalf of folks like John—Thank you for your continued support of Hearing Health Foundation (HHF), the largest U.S. nonprofit funder of hearing loss and tinnitus research in America.

We are dedicated to discovering better treatments and permanent cures.

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John—a Retired U.S. Army Colonel—served during the Cold War. Constant exposure to gunfire and high-pitched helicopter engines took a toll on his hearing. He was diagnosed with tinnitus and hearing loss in 1996. His diagnosis fueled his desire to improve the lives of active duty personnel and veterans since.

Tragically, John's circumstances are not unique. Tinnitus is the most common physical ailment for returning military personnel, followed by hearing loss. 60% of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans suffer from one or both of these conditions.

Many Veterans, even those who pass their hearing test, have trouble understanding speech. This condition, known as auditory processing disorder, is often caused by blast exposure.

Today John teaches at the Naval Postgraduate school where he often counsels young military officers as they cope with their tinnitus, as tinnitus can cause significant sleep, concentration, and mood issues.

Can you help bring us closer to better treatments and cures for tinnitus for John and the 65 million other Americans with tinnitus, many of whom are also veterans? 

PLEASE, IF YOU ARE ABLE, GIVE TO HHF TODAY. 100% OF YOUR GENEROUS GIFT WILL BE DIRECTED TO THE AREA OF YOUR DESIGNATION. 

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Help Us Move Beyond Grateful

By Nadine Dehgan

Thank you for your partnership as we progress toward our dream of cures for hearing loss and tinnitus.

Our researchers are hard at work discovering how reptiles, birds, and fish are able to restore their hearing after being deafened so they can translate this knowledge into cures for mammals and humans. 

When better treatments and cures are discovered, I know Jamie—pictured below with her four children—will be incredibly grateful for the opportunity to have her hearing restored. We will all be grateful.

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Jamie's life changed one year ago when her daily activities were suddenly compromised. Words turned into mere muffled sounds—and then silence. She found herself increasingly dependent on lip-reading to avoid asking people to repeat themselves, a request that embarrassed her.

Her fears were confirmed when her doctor determined that Jamie, 32, has severe hearing loss in both of her ears. The doctor was astonished by the intensity of the decline in Jamie's hearing.

Jamie is fortunate to have a supportive and loving husband and family. But she lives in fear she may never be able to hear her beautiful children and other important sounds in her life.

Can you help bring us closer to better treatments and a cure for hearing loss for Jamie and 48 million other Americans with hearing loss?

Please, if you are able, give to HHF today. 100% of your generous gift will be directed to the area of your designation. 

Thank you and happy holidays!

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Give Your Way on #GivingTuesday

By Lauren McGrath

Hearing Health Foundation (HHF) kindly requests your help this #GivingTuesday, an annual international day of giving back.

While making a direct contribution is an option, it isn’t the only way that you can support our shared mission to enhance the lives of millions through better treatments and permanent cures for hearing loss and tinnitus.

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2017 was monumental for HHF in that your support enabled HHF to fund more critical hearing research than ever before. Still, more work must—and can—be done. Our Hearing Restoration Project’s Scientific Director, Peter Barr-Gillespie, Ph.D., is optimistic about the progress you’ve already empowered. “The clues are becoming more clear, and we expect the next year will yield a bounty of exciting results,” he shares.

As people around the world unite today in celebration of giving to causes that matter to them, we hope that you are inspired to act on behalf of HHF. Take your pick from the options below to give your way on #GivingTuesday:

Make a Direct Contribution

HHF accepts donations through our website’s secure donation portal and by mail to 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.

If you are able to give today, Tuesday, November 28, consider making your donation through our Facebook page, where your donation will be generously matched by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Start a Community Fundraiser

You needn’t support Hearing Health Foundation's critical hearing loss research and awareness programs on your own. Reach out to your community—your friends, family, neighbors, colleagues, or classmates—to give on your behalf as an HHF Community Fundraiser on Facebook or Classy. Please take advantage of our simple toolkits to ensure your fundraiser is a successful one.

Go Shopping

Perhaps the simplest way of all to give is to put your personal shopping to work for HHF—at no additional cost to you! If you are scoping out savings opportunities on Amazon, be sure to 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.

Please email us at info@hhf.org if you are experiencing difficulty or have questions about our ways to give. Thank you for considering HHF on #GivingTuesday.

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Illuminating Usher Syndrome: A Three-Day Event Series to Bring Deafblindness Out of the Dark

By Sophia Boccard

A crowd of people made their way to Lululemon HUB on 5th Avenue in New York City on the evening of September 11 to participate in Day One of a three-day Usher syndrome event series. The cocktail gathering overflowed with wine, cheese, and spectators against the beautiful backdrop of Lululemon’s community space.

Usher Syndrome Society banner near the portraits in the park. Photo by Rebecca Alexander.

Usher Syndrome Society banner near the portraits in the park. Photo by Rebecca Alexander.

The event, called Rosé in the Dark, was a collaboration amongst four friends, Rebecca Alexander, Peggy Borst, and myself—all of us have Usher syndrome—and Nancy Corderman, a mother to two kids with Usher syndrome. Our objective was to bring insight to life with Usher syndrome through immersive deafblind experiences.

While Usher syndrome itself is quite rare, it is the most common cause of deafblindness—the loss of both hearing and vision. In the United States, the inherited condition affects approximately four babies in every 100,000 births while worldwide, more than 400,000 people are affected with Usher syndrome.

At Rosé in the Dark, we began with a three-person panel discussion. The Q&A was very personal, emotional, and informative. Following the panel, guests participated in a deafblind exercise, wearing goggles that replicate tunnel vision, a common viewpoint for a person with Usher syndrome.

On Tuesday for Day Two, we installed a public exhibit of large portraits of people with Usher syndrome in Washington Square Park. Visitors, tourists, and students from nearby universities all absorbed personal information about these individuals while browsing through the photographs and reading their stories.

For Day Three, we concluded the series with an exercise class led by Rebecca Alexander, who is also a Lululemon Ambassador. Admission to the class was donated to Usher syndrome research.

Sophia Boccard speaks at Rosé in the Dark. Photo by Socrates Figueroa

Sophia Boccard speaks at Rosé in the Dark. Photo by Socrates Figueroa

As an individual with Usher syndrome, building awareness is important. Comprehending the invisible condition and knowing how to help or respond to individuals with the condition can be difficult.

We will be continuing to raise awareness and create more experiences to educate everyone on ways they can help and contribute to this rare but damaging condition.

Sophia Boccard sits on Hearing Health Foundation (HHF)’s Board of Directors and is a digital marketing strategist in the hospitality industry with over a decade of marketing experience in the entertainment industry. “As someone who was born with moderate to severe hearing loss, I've always accepted the loss of hearing as a part of who I am. After being diagnosed with Usher syndrome type 2a in 2012, I realized that a cure for both hearing and vision was something I needed to fight for.”

Empower groundbreaking research toward better treatments and cures for Usher syndrome. If you are able, please make a contribution today.

 
 
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HHF Attends Cantor Fitzgerald’s Charity Day, a Star-Spangled Effort to Build Hope on Tragic 9/11 Anniversary

By Yvonnie Phan

Hearing Health Foundation (HHF) was among the dozens of charities selected to participate in yesterday’s Cantor Charity Day—an annual, celebrity-filled philanthropic event held around the anniversary of September 11—at Cantor Fitzgerald’s New York City headquarters.

From left: HHF Board Vice Chair Paul Orlin, Cantor Fitzgerald Relief Fund President Edie Lutnick, Former Hockey Star Martin St. Louis, HHF CEO Nadine Dehgan

From left: HHF Board Vice Chair Paul Orlin, Cantor Fitzgerald Relief Fund President Edie Lutnick, Former Hockey Star Martin St. Louis, HHF CEO Nadine Dehgan

HHF’s attendance marked the organization’s fifth year of participation. HHF was represented by Hockey Legend Martin “Marty” St. Louis, HHF Board member Paul Orlin, and Nadine Dehgan, HHF’s CEO.

As Marty’s own foundation has supported HHF’s life-changing hearing and balance research in the past, HHF was especially thankful that he also dedicated his time to serve as an ambassador.

Marty St. Louis and Robert De Niro

Marty St. Louis and Robert De Niro

The HHF trio had a particularly memorable encounter with Robert De Niro and another hockey star, Mike Richter, who were also among Charity Day’s celebrity roster. Marty told Mr. De Niro that in his days as a player (for Tampa Bay Lighting, Calgary Flames, and the New York Rangers), he impersonated De Niro’s film roles in the locker room to energize his teammates before big games—and the movie star found that amusing.

All proceeds from Cantor Charity Day will benefit the Cantor Fitzgerald Relief Fund, which aids the families of the firm’s 658 employees who perished in the World Trade Center attacks. Since its 2001 establishment, the Relief Fund has expanded its reach to also support victims of terrorism, natural disasters, and emergencies, wounded military personnel, and other charitable causes worldwide, including HHF.

Marty making trades on the phone

Marty making trades on the phone

HHF CEO Nadine Dehgan reflects on the day: “Being part of this event where everyone gets together for the sole purpose of helping others is so inspiring. I am honored HHF was selected to participate again and grateful for the folks who make it happen, especially the Relief Fund’s President, Edie Lutnick, whose energy is unmatched. Marty was a superstar on the phone helping make trades!”

The Fund’s prioritization of wounded veterans is especially compatible with HHF’s work; tinnitus and hearing loss are the most common disabilities that afflict returning American military members.

“HHF will use the funds received from this event to continue to be a resource for veterans with hearing loss and to further research for treatments and cures for the 360 million people around the world who have hearing loss,” Nadine pledges.

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Celebrating Your Birthday in September? Learn How You Can Help HHF!

By Lauren McGrath

Sharing birthday presents is a popular custom. Most Americans report positive emotions when giving gifts. 83 and 78 percent of people feel joyful and generous, respectively, when sharing a present with a loved one, Pew Research finds. 

The receiving side of the gift-giving process is much different. The question, "What do you want for your birthday?" often triggers a mental blank, especially when multiple friends or family members inquire simultaneously. To think of one tangible item on the spot can be difficult.

More people in America were born in September than in any other month, according to a study shared in Reader's Digest from the U.S. National Center for Health Statistics, so it follows that this is the most popular birthday gift-giving time of the year, too.

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Should you fall among the millions of Americans celebrating a birthday during this ninth month of 2017, Hearing Health Foundation (HHF) has a suggestion for you. Did you know that you can dedicate your birthday to a nonprofit organization of your choice on Facebook, inviting your friends to give directly to the cause?

A new feature on Facebook prompts users two weeks before their birthday to select a nonprofit organization's page. The individual whose birthday is approaching can set a goal amount and enter a custom message. Friends will see the public post, which expires at midnight on the user's actual birthday.

HHF relies on the generosity of individuals to propel forward its critical hearing and balance research, awareness efforts, and advocacy work. If you are a September-born HHF supporter who considers our work personally valuable, please consider creating a fundraiser of any size. Every dollar makes a difference.

Help your friends contribute to HHF through the following steps:

1. Once logged into Facebook, go to the Fundraisers page.

2. Click Raise Money.

3. Click Get Started.

4. Choose Nonprofit.

5. Type or Choose Hearing Health Foundation.

6. Personalize your message and click Create.

Happy birthday! And thank you for considering donating your special day to HHF.

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