High-Tech Hope for the Hard of Hearing

"In 2011, the Hearing Health Foundation based in New York, created the Hearing Restoration Project, a consortium of fourteen scientists who agreed to work together toward that goal, partly with funding from the foundation. One of the originators of the project, Edwin Rubel, who was a co-discoverer of hair-cell regrowth in chickens, told me, “It’s potentially the best thing that ever happened, because it really does bring together a lot of different kinds of expertise.”

Hearing Health Foundation's work toward finding better therapies and cures for hearing loss and tinnitus was featured in the April 3, 2017 Issue of T High-Tech Hope for the Hard of Hearing he New Yorker Magazine. Read the article here.

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Catch the ReelAbilities Film Fest in New York City This Week

By Tara Guastella

The ReelAbilities Film Festival kicks off today in New York City and runs through next Tuesday. This is the largest film festival in the country—it includes films that are screened at more than a dozen locations across the U.S.—dedicated to promoting awareness and appreciation of the lives, stories, and artistic expressions of people with different disabilities.

Launched in 2007 in New York City, the festival presents award-winning films by and about people with disabilities in multiple locations throughout each hosting city. Post-screening discussions and other engaging programs bring together the community to explore, discuss, embrace, and celebrate the diversity of our shared human experience.

Festival highlights this year include Lindsey Dryden’s Lost and Sound, which follows three artists who lose their hearing and journey deep into sound and silence to rediscover music, and Sounds for Mazin, which chronicles how a 12-year-old boy with hearing loss looks forward to getting cochlear implants, but his friends make him second-guess the decision.

A special offer for friends of HHF - use code EFDHHF for $3 tickets to Lost and Sound at the JCC in Manhattan!

There are many additional films to enjoy: Check out the schedule for a complete listing and buy your tickets today.

If you’re not in the NYC area this weekend, don’t fret! The ReelAbilities Film Festival makes its way through many cities across the U.S., including Atlanta, Boston, Houston, the San Francisco Bay Area, Washington D.C., and many more. Find out more on the ReelAbilities website.

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"Hear Today, Gone Tomorrow," says the NYC Department of Health

By Tara Guastella

Last week, the New York City Department of Health announced the launch of a new public health awareness campaign. Rather than targeting oversize soft drinks or styrofoam containers, this ad campaign focuses on a very important issue: noise-induced hearing loss. The campaign warns that listening to headphones at a high volume can lead to both hearing loss and tinnitus.

The health department collected data on levels of hearing loss and found that nearly one out of four adults ages 18 to 44 who report heavy headphone use say they have hearing problems. This group was also more than twice as likely to report hearing problems than those who report light-to-moderate use or no use of headphones.

“Listening to headphones at a high volume for too long can damage your hearing,” says Health Commissioner Thomas Farley, M.D. “If you want to continue to enjoy music in the future, you’ll turn down the volume today.”

The hearing loss is permanent. Unlike birds, fish, and reptiles, humans and all mammals cannot restore their own hearing because we don’t have the ability regenerate inner ear hair cells. So when those hair cells are damaged by chronic exposure to loud sounds, our ability to hear is irreversibly compromised.

HHF’s Hearing Restoration Project (HRP) is working toward a cure for hearing loss and tinnitus. Our HRP consortium members are working collaboratively and sharing data on their findings in bird, zebrafish, and mouse studies. By doing so, they are able to asses how birds and zebrafish show regeneration while a mouse does not, after a very early developmental time. Other HRP research examines which cell types we are likely to need to target in damaged human ears to induce regeneration.  

As our HRP researchers work toward a cure within the next decade, it is important to take precautionary steps to prevent further loss of hearing. Follow this advice from the NYC Department of Health:

  • Reduce the volume, limit listening time, and take regular breaks.

  • Never listen at maximum volume and do not turn the volume up to drown out external noise.

  • Use volume limiting features of personal listening devices.

  • Know the early signs of hearing loss and ask a doctor for a hearing test if you have trouble hearing conversation, need to turn up the volumes on TV, radio, or personal music players or experience ringing in the ear.

Safe listening!

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Five NYC Marathon Finishers: Winners in the Search for a Cure for Hearing Loss

By Tara Guastella

A wave to the thousands cheering my name

A wave to the thousands cheering my name

On a crisp, cool morning this past Sunday, November 3, Tom Abbey, Veronica Calhoun, Kim Montini, Andy Shepard, and I rose early and made our way to the starting line of the 2013 ING NYC Marathon. After ferry rides and shuttle buses, our marathon team stood at the starting line of the greatest running race in the world for one important reason: to support a cure for hearing loss and tinnitus.

Over the past several months we have spent hours on training runs, thanks to Abbey, team trainer from Functional Fitness VA, who prepared our team to tackle this great feat. Each team member also worked together to raise funds for HHF. In total, we raised nearly $20,000 to support a cure.

"I would have never done it if it wasn't for the cause. And I'm so happy that I did," says Calhoun, who ran for her 4-year-old daughter, Marlowe, who was born with a hearing loss.

Veronica poses with her medal after finishing

Veronica poses with her medal after finishing

All five team members crossed the finish line in their bright green HHF T-shirts, and we couldn't have felt happier about what we had just accomplished—not only completing 26.2 scenic miles through all five boroughs of New York City, but also knowing that journey is contributing to a cure for hearing loss and tinnitus. The accomplishment is something that goes much further than Marathon Sunday—something that, one day in the near future, will restore a vital sense to the nearly 50 million Americans with hearing loss.

Interested in running in next year’s NYC Marathon for HHF? Email today!

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HHF Exhibits at 92 St Y StreetFest

By Tara Guastella

HHF staff members Veronica Moreno and Ayana Anderson

HHF staff members Veronica Moreno and Ayana Anderson

On September 15, HHF sponsored and exhibited at the 92 St Y StreetFest on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. HHF staff members and volunteers from the Royal Arch Masons, a HHF major donor, had the opportunity to speak with thousands of New Yorkers and discuss how a chicken can lead us to a cure for hearing loss and tinnitus.

Chickens (and most non-mammals) can regenerate their own hair cells and as a result restore their own hearing. We explained how our Hearing Restoration Project is working to translate this process to humans in order to develop a biologic cure for hearing loss and tinnitus.

Attendees were also provided the opportunity to enter a contest to win a $50 Target gift card by guessing the number of fuzzy chicken toys in a glass jar. The winner of the contest hit the nail on the head by guessing 750 chickens! Our booth also featured an abundance of Peeps (chick-shaped, marshmallow candy), chick temporary tattoos, and a plethora of information about HHF’s work toward a cure for hearing loss and tinnitus.

Volunteers from the Royal Arch Masons with HHF staff member Tara Guastella

Volunteers from the Royal Arch Masons with HHF staff member Tara Guastella

HHF was honored to be a part of this event to spread the word about our work. We are also extremely grateful for the support of the Royal Arch Masons for their generous help at this event and their continued support of HHF’s Emerging Research Grant Awardees studying central auditory processing disorder (CAPD).

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Meet Us at the 92nd Street Y Street Festival Sept. 15

By Tara Guastella

This Sunday Sept. 15, HHF is sponsoring and exhibiting at the 92 Street Y Street Festival on the Upper East Side in Manhattan. This festival draws thousands of attendees and we are excited to meet with New Yorkers to talk with them about our work to develop a cure for hearing loss and tinnitus.

Did you know that a chicken holds the key to a cure for hearing loss and tinnitus? More than 25 years ago, research partially funded by HHF led to the discovery that chickens can spontaneously regenerate the sensitive hair cells needed for hearing in order to restore their hearing. This knowledge is the underlying basis for our Hearing Restoration Project (HRP). Our consortium of researchers, all leaders in their fields, are working together to take what we know happens in chickens (and most non-mammals) and apply that to humans.    

Lots of fun chicken-related giveaways, perfect for all ages, will be provided to attendees along with information on ways you can get involved to support a cure. If you’re in the NYC area, make sure to stop by our booth #323, pick up some goodies, and learn more. See you there!  

The 92 St. Y Street Festival is taking place from 12 - 5pm on Lexington Avenue between 79th Street and 96th Street in NYC.

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HHF Provides Free Hearing Screenings for Students

NYC schools no longer offer hearing screenings for its students, so on May 2, the Hearing Health Foundation and Gordon Hearing Conservation partnered to provide free hearing screenings for students at the Speyer Legacy School on Manhattan's Upper West Side in honor of May's Better Hearing and Speech month.

On May 2, 2013, Hearing Health Foundation, a non-profit dedicated to finding a cure for hearing loss, partnered with Gordon Hearing Conservation and The Speyer Legacy School to provide a “Safe and Sound” presentation and free hearing screenings for its third-fifth graders.


Serving as the kickoff to May’s “Better Hearing & Speech Month,” the Hearing Health Foundation fulfilled a dire need, as NYC schools no longer offer hearing screening for their students. By providing this service, Hearing Health Foundation, Gordon Hearing Conservation, and The Speyer Legacy School are ensuring the protection of children’s hearing.

While hearing screenings are an overlooked necessity, they test whether an individual has normal hearing or some degree of hearing loss.

A rampant issue, hearing loss statistics can be shocking:

• 1 in 5 Americans have hearing loss in at least one ear.

• 20% of the US population aged 12 years and older has hearing difficulties severe enough to impact communication.

• There is a direct link between age and hearing loss: about 18% of American adults between the ages of 45 and 54, 30% of adults between ages 65 and 74, and 47% of adults ages 75 and older have hearing impairments.

• In the USA, three out of every 1,000 children are born deaf or hard-of-hearing.

• About 26 million Americans between ages 20-69 have high frequency hearing loss due to exposure to loud noises at work or in leisure activities.

• About 60% of deployed military service men and women have noise induced hearing loss, tinnitus and other hearing injuries.

About Hearing Health Foundation

Hearing Health Foundation is the largest private funder of hearing research, with a mission to prevent and cure hearing loss through groundbreaking research. Since 1958 Hearing Health Foundation has given almost $30 million to hearing and balance research, including work that led to cochlear implant technology. In 2011 Hearing Health Foundation launched the Hearing Restoration Project, a consortium of scientists working on cell regeneration in the ear. HRP's goal is a biologic cure for most types of acquired hearing loss within the next ten years.

Hearing Health Foundation also publishes Hearing Health magazine, a free consumer resource on hearing loss and related technology, research, and products. To learn more, to subscribe to our magazine, or support this work, visit
Follow the Foundation on Twitter at @HearingHealthFn and Like the organization on Facebook at

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Cyndi Lauper performs in NYC for the Hearing Health Foundation

Last night the Hearing Health Foundation hosted An Intimate Evening with Cyndi Lauper at B.B. King Blues Club in New York City. The evening was mc'd by Richard Kind, a long term supporter of the Foundation. Guests appreciated an intimate performance by Grammy and Emmy Award-winning singer-songwriter Cyndi Lauper to help raise funds and awareness for a cure for hearing loss.

Besides a stellar performance by the world renowned Cyndi Lauper, the evening also included a silent auction and a cocktail reception sponsored by VEEV Liquor. Richard Kind, a renowned comic genius, delivered a funny introduction then introduced the evenings co-chairs Natasha Boucai and Victoria Orlin. They delivered a touching speech before Foundation Executive Director Andrea Boidman that covered the Hearing Restoration Project, the Foundation's initiative that aims to find a biological cure for hearing loss in the next decade. Hearing loss is an issue that affects one in five Americans.

Cyndi Lauper & Richard Kind attend An Intimate Evening with Cyndi Lauper to Benefit Hearing Health Foundation

After their speech, Jennifer Harrington came on stage to share her inspiring story. Then Sotheby's auctioneer Eileen Agopian led a live auction to raise more funds for the Foundation. Once the auction was over, Kind returned to the stage to introduce superstar Cyndi Lauper. She performed several favorite hits including “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun,” “Money Changes Everything” and “Time After Time.” As the legendary performer sang, she walked through the audience and brought everyone to their feet. The B.B. King Blues Club on 42nd Street in NYC was filled to capacity as fans and supporters cheered for Cyndi on February 6.

Since 1958, the Hearing Health Foundation has given more than $27.8 million to hearing research. The Hearing Restoration Project (HRP) was launched by the Foundation in 2011. The Project involves a consortium of scientists working on cell regeneration in the ear to help restore hearing. The goal is a biological cure for most types of acquired hearing loss within the next decade. The Foundation also publishes Hearing Health magazine, a free consumer resource with information about hearing loss along with related technology, products and research. For additional information about hearing loss or to make a donation, visit the Hearing Health Foundation.

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