Do You Know Six People?
Well, of course you do! So, if you know six people, chances are you know someone with a hearing loss. (Hey, you know ME! And I know A BUNCH OF FOLKS on this email who wear hearing aids - or maybe should be wearing hearing aids. So, there you go – I proved my point.)
Fact is, you likely know others besides me who have a hearing loss. And, if you are older than 65, there is a good chance that you or your spouse, or a family member, or a friend, may have a hearing loss. That's because 48 million people in the U.S. - or 1 in 6 people - have some degree of hearing loss. And if you’re over 65 years old, your chance of having a hearing loss increases to 1 in 3.
But hearing loss isn’t just a result of the aging process. My progressive hearing loss was first identified when I was in college, though it likely was there much earlier. We just didn’t have newborn hearing screening back when I was born. We now know that about 2 to 3 out of every 1,000 children in the United States are born with a detectable level of hearing loss in one or both ears. We also know that more than 2.7 million veterans have service-related hearing loss or are in treatment for hearing-related issues. Bottomline: Hearing loss doesn’t discriminate. Whether you’re young or old, a student, in the workforce, retired, a veteran, or anyone else—it really doesn’t matter. Hearing loss is amongst us.
And that’s why I’m participating in the Walk4Hearing on October 10th!
I'm participating in the Walk4Hearing to raise funds and awareness to help improve the lives of people with hearing loss. The funds I raise will go directly (100%) to Hearing Loss Association of America (HLAA), which is the largest nonprofit national organization dedicated to improving the lives of people with hearing loss.
HLAA has been dear to my heart for many years, both personally and professionally. Through my contacts with many other HLAA members, I have gained a greater understanding – and acceptance – of my own hearing loss. I've learned about accommodations and assistive technologies that can support my communication access in daily living activities and community events. Professionally, HLAA has been a significant partner in my research studies to increase our understanding of how hearing loss impacts individuals’ mental health and quality of life. Quite frankly, I cannot imagine my journey with hearing loss – personally or professionally – without the support and guidance that I've received from HLAA.
What is the Walk4Hearing?
The HLAA Walk4Hearing is a national program that reaches out to more than 48 million people with hearing loss, their families, friends, and hearing health professionals to educate and raise awareness about hearing loss, good hearing health, and communication access. Celebrating its 15th anniversary, the Walk4Hearing has welcomed over 105,000 walkers and 9,200 teams since 2006 for purposes of raising money for national and community programs related to hearing loss. Due to COVID-19, this year’s walk is being conducted virtually for the first time. Although this is a change in events, the spirit and determination behind this “walk” is just as strong as ever!
Why am I Participating in the Walk4Hearing?
I am participating in the Walk4Hearing because I want everyone to know that hearing loss does not have to prevent you from enjoying life to its fullest, and that there is a community ready to help. In addition, I want to support HLAA to be able to continue its advocacy efforts to open doors to those with hearing loss for communication access. Finally, I am participating in the Walk4Hearing because I want people to recognize that hearing loss is essentially an unrecognized public health issue – third in line after heart disease and arthritis – and it needs our attention and response.
Can You Help?
I know that the election is just around the corner, and I am certain that you have received a barrage of contribution requests. But I hope that you can see that this request is different. And I hope that you can appreciate the importance of this request and the focus of our work. Will you support me in this endeavor – please? Any amount will help!