Survey Finds Negative Stereotypes Prevent Hard-of-Hearing People From Seeking Help

Oticon Focus on People Awards Honors Those Who Defy Stigma



Apr 19, 2001, 01:00 ET from Oticon

    SAN DIEGO, April 19 /PRNewswire/ -- Concerns about looking old, fear of
 appearing less functional and lack of knowledge about the latest in hearing
 solutions were among the top responses in a national online survey of
 audiologists about why people resist seeking help for hearing loss.  The
 results of the survey, sponsored by Oticon, Inc., one of the world's leading
 hearing aid manufacturers, were released today in San Diego at the fifth
 annual Oticon Focus on People Awards as over 8,000 audiologists from around
 the world gather there for the American Academy of Audiologists (AAA)
 Convention.
     Celebrating the accomplishments and contributions of hearing-impaired
 individuals, the national Focus on People Awards competition is designed to
 call attention to common misconceptions about hearing loss, correct negative
 stereotypes and motivate people with hearing loss to take advantage of the
 help that is available to them.  The awards were started in 1996 to reach out
 to the 80 percent of an estimated 28 million Americans who could benefit from
 hearing instruments, but fail to seek professional help.
     An independent judging committee comprised of leaders in hearing health
 practice, education, research and advocacy selected 15 winners in five
 categories from more than 100 individuals nominated by hearing care
 professionals and organizations from across the country.
     As with other award recipients, the severely hard-of-hearing Youth
 category winner Amanda Goyne is proof that hearing loss does not limit the
 ability to live a full, productive and, even inspiring life.
 Fourteen-year-old Amanda is currently a member of the Junior Olympic Skiing
 Team for the second year in a row.
     Matt Cain, the winner in the Adult category, will begin a two-year stint
 in the Peace Corps this spring.  Never one to let his hearing loss interfere
 with his ability to be a friend and mentor to those in need, Matt will utilize
 his undergraduate and master's degrees in English to teach the language to
 students in a remote area of the former USSR.
     The efforts of Advocacy winner Nanci Linke Ellis to bring the needs of
 those with hearing loss to the attention of the motion picture world resulted
 in open captioned movies in theaters.
     Experts say that the stigma associated with hearing loss may explain why
 most hard-of-hearing people wait an average of 10 years before obtaining a
 hearing aid despite the incredible advances of recent years, including the
 introduction of digital hearing instruments.  Findings from the online survey
 reconfirm the stigma is alive and well.  Seventy-two percent of the
 audiologists polled said media portrayal of people with hearing loss
 contributes to the negative stigma.  Other factors cited by respondents
 included:  equation of hearing loss with old age and declining abilities
 (36 percent), lack of subsidy for hearing aids from health care programs
 (24 percent), and societal side-lining of people perceived as less competent
 due to their hearing loss (20 percent).
     "Given that hearing loss is the number-one disability in America, these
 findings are significant," says Mikael Worning, president of Oticon, Inc.
 "It's interesting to note that Americans now openly discuss and seek help for
 once 'unmentionable' diseases and disabilities, but not hearing loss.  The
 challenge continues to be to change outdated and hurtful misconceptions of
 what it means to have a hearing loss."
     Oticon's annual awards program recognizes winners in five categories.
 These include:  Youth, for ages 5-12; Students; for young people ages 13-25
 who are full-time students; Adults, for those over the age of 18; Advocacy,
 for individuals of all ages actively involved in volunteer and support efforts
 for the hear-of-hearing and deaf community.  A fifth "Practitioner" category
 recognizes a practicing hearing care professional who has demonstrated a
 commitment to improving the lives of people with hearing loss.
     Founded in 1904, Oticon is one of the world's most experience hearing aid
 manufacturers.  A pioneer in digital technology, Oticon introduced the first
 ear-level fully digital hearing instrument in 1996.  People First is the motto
 for Oticon, which is committed to improving the quality of life for those with
 hearing loss, through research, technological advancement and a focus on
 patient requirements.
 
     Contact:  Barbara King or Rachel Ee-Heilemann, Aronow & Pollock
 Communications, Inc., 212-941-1414, for Oticon.
 
 

SOURCE Oticon
    SAN DIEGO, April 19 /PRNewswire/ -- Concerns about looking old, fear of
 appearing less functional and lack of knowledge about the latest in hearing
 solutions were among the top responses in a national online survey of
 audiologists about why people resist seeking help for hearing loss.  The
 results of the survey, sponsored by Oticon, Inc., one of the world's leading
 hearing aid manufacturers, were released today in San Diego at the fifth
 annual Oticon Focus on People Awards as over 8,000 audiologists from around
 the world gather there for the American Academy of Audiologists (AAA)
 Convention.
     Celebrating the accomplishments and contributions of hearing-impaired
 individuals, the national Focus on People Awards competition is designed to
 call attention to common misconceptions about hearing loss, correct negative
 stereotypes and motivate people with hearing loss to take advantage of the
 help that is available to them.  The awards were started in 1996 to reach out
 to the 80 percent of an estimated 28 million Americans who could benefit from
 hearing instruments, but fail to seek professional help.
     An independent judging committee comprised of leaders in hearing health
 practice, education, research and advocacy selected 15 winners in five
 categories from more than 100 individuals nominated by hearing care
 professionals and organizations from across the country.
     As with other award recipients, the severely hard-of-hearing Youth
 category winner Amanda Goyne is proof that hearing loss does not limit the
 ability to live a full, productive and, even inspiring life.
 Fourteen-year-old Amanda is currently a member of the Junior Olympic Skiing
 Team for the second year in a row.
     Matt Cain, the winner in the Adult category, will begin a two-year stint
 in the Peace Corps this spring.  Never one to let his hearing loss interfere
 with his ability to be a friend and mentor to those in need, Matt will utilize
 his undergraduate and master's degrees in English to teach the language to
 students in a remote area of the former USSR.
     The efforts of Advocacy winner Nanci Linke Ellis to bring the needs of
 those with hearing loss to the attention of the motion picture world resulted
 in open captioned movies in theaters.
     Experts say that the stigma associated with hearing loss may explain why
 most hard-of-hearing people wait an average of 10 years before obtaining a
 hearing aid despite the incredible advances of recent years, including the
 introduction of digital hearing instruments.  Findings from the online survey
 reconfirm the stigma is alive and well.  Seventy-two percent of the
 audiologists polled said media portrayal of people with hearing loss
 contributes to the negative stigma.  Other factors cited by respondents
 included:  equation of hearing loss with old age and declining abilities
 (36 percent), lack of subsidy for hearing aids from health care programs
 (24 percent), and societal side-lining of people perceived as less competent
 due to their hearing loss (20 percent).
     "Given that hearing loss is the number-one disability in America, these
 findings are significant," says Mikael Worning, president of Oticon, Inc.
 "It's interesting to note that Americans now openly discuss and seek help for
 once 'unmentionable' diseases and disabilities, but not hearing loss.  The
 challenge continues to be to change outdated and hurtful misconceptions of
 what it means to have a hearing loss."
     Oticon's annual awards program recognizes winners in five categories.
 These include:  Youth, for ages 5-12; Students; for young people ages 13-25
 who are full-time students; Adults, for those over the age of 18; Advocacy,
 for individuals of all ages actively involved in volunteer and support efforts
 for the hear-of-hearing and deaf community.  A fifth "Practitioner" category
 recognizes a practicing hearing care professional who has demonstrated a
 commitment to improving the lives of people with hearing loss.
     Founded in 1904, Oticon is one of the world's most experience hearing aid
 manufacturers.  A pioneer in digital technology, Oticon introduced the first
 ear-level fully digital hearing instrument in 1996.  People First is the motto
 for Oticon, which is committed to improving the quality of life for those with
 hearing loss, through research, technological advancement and a focus on
 patient requirements.
 
     Contact:  Barbara King or Rachel Ee-Heilemann, Aronow & Pollock
 Communications, Inc., 212-941-1414, for Oticon.
 
 SOURCE  Oticon