Highlights from Our 2017 Annual Report

By Gina Russo

Hearing Health Foundation (HHF) is pleased to share that our latest Annual Report is now available for your review. The report provides in-depth coverage of our activities, events, and achievements for fiscal year 2017 (October 1, 2016 - September 30, 2017). Highlights from the report include the following:

Promising investigative work in hearing and balance. Thanks to the generosity of many individuals and organizations, HHF funded nine Hearing Restoration Project (HRP) projects and 14 Emerging Research Grant (ERG) recipients last year.

Using three animal models, HRP scientists continued their collaborative quest (pp. 14-18) to permanently cure hearing loss and tinnitus through hair cell restoration. Says HRP consortium member David Raible, Ph.D., “Collaboration is the key to innovation. Although there is a romantic picture of a scientist slaving away in isolation, toiling toward ‘eureka’ moments, science works best with communication and sharing ideas.”

Meanwhile, our ERG recipients (pp. 19-22) were awarded grants to fund their up-and-coming work in the areas of Ménière's Disease, tinnitus, central auditory processing disorder (CAPD), hearing health, Usher syndrome, hearing loss in children, and stria vascularis.

Introduction of a research program, Ménière's Disease Grants (MDG). HHF funded two former ERG recipients, Drs. Gail Ishiyama and Ian Swinburne, who will help to advance our understanding of the inner ear and balance disorder Ménière's Disease. These grants (p. 23) were generously supported by a family committed to finding better treatments and cures for this disabling condition.

Preview of our exciting Hearing Loss Survey findings. HHF, in partnership with the Hearing Loss Association of America (HLAA), surveyed 2,300 people to understand how to better serve the needs of the hearing loss community. Affordability and accessibility of hearing healthcare was an underlying trend in the responses (pp. 11-12), and participants overwhelmingly support the government playing a role in access to hearing loss treatment. A full survey manuscript and executive summary will be available in April 2018.

Thank you to all our fundraisers and donors. We were fortunate to receive large-scale support from Cantor Fitzgerald Charity Day, marathon runner Catherine McLoughlin, and the De Francesco family. You can read about each on pp. 8-10. Additionally, you will find a complete list of our FY’17 donors on pp. 26-36, who all helped make a difference in hearing loss research.

Continued outstanding financial transparency. HHF retained top marks from all charity watchdogs (BBB Wise Giving Alliance, Charity Navigator, CharityWatch, and Guidestar) and was recognized, for the second consecutive year, as a “Best Charity for Your Donation” by Consumer Reports. Examine our Report’s Financials on pp. 37-39 for more information about how we efficiently steward donor dollars.

Should you have any questions about the report, please get in touch with us at info@hhf.org. To learn more about naming a grant and other giving opportunities, contact development@hhf.org. If you are able to help us fund research programs in 2018, we encourage you to make a contribution to HHF before September 30, 2018 to see your name included on the list of donors in next year’s Annual Report.

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