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ChEARs to Our Hearing

By Lauren McGrath

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To extend our celebration of World Hearing Day (March 3), Hearing Health Foundation (HHF) has partnered with the innovative Class I hearing aid manufacturer Eargo to raise funds for hearing loss research and awareness.

Eargo launched the ChEARs to Our Hearing Facebook fundraising campaign Monday, March 4, and the company is generously matching all gifts made up to $1,000.

In alignment with HHF’s 2017 survey about barriers to hearing loss treatment, Eargo’s Audiologist, Steve Eagon, says, “Our consumers are most concerned about the price of hearing aids. User-centric innovations driven by HHF’s scientific research—specifically through its Emerging Research Grants (ERG) program—will ultimately advance more possibilities for hearing aid technology,  eventually driving down costs.”

HHF also champions the importance of treating a hearing loss to maintain one’s quality of life, or, as Eargo’s mission statement reads, “hear life to the fullest.” An untreated hearing loss can increase one's risk of experiencing cognitive decline, dementia, falls, social isolation, and depression.

Eargo also shares HHF’s motivation to reduce the stigma of hearing loss. “There always has been, and still is, a lot of stigma around hearing aids. As a society, we're focused on looking and feeling young, and using hearing aids are often seen as a sign of submission to old age. Instead of investing in one of their senses, people often deny their hearing loss—by turning the volume up, asking people to repeat themselves, and unfortunately avoiding the situation rather than dealing with it head on,” Eagon says.

HHF is deeply grateful to Eargo for their decision to support hearing loss research and awareness. HHF kindly invites our readers to make a contribution to ChEARs to Our Hearing on Facebook. Thank you for your consideration and support of our work!

 
 

About Eargo:

Eargo is a direct-to-consumer health tech company that’s destigmatizing hearing loss through consumer-driven innovation. Eargo devices are available for individuals with mild to moderate hearing loss. The Eargo Max model was recognized as one of TIME’s best inventions of 2018.  For more, see eargo.com.

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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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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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