'Survivor' Contestant Nina Poersch Shares Her Inspirational Cochlear Implant Story During Better Hearing and Speech Month

After surviving on a deserted island, she is now showing the world what it means to fight for better hearing and reach for the stars

May 19, 2015, 10:08 ET from Cochlear Limited

CENTENNIAL, Colo., May 19, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Cochlear Limited (ASX: COH), the global leader in implantable hearing solutions, announced today a collaboration with Nina Poersch from the hit CBS show 'Survivor' to educate the public about what it means to live with hearing loss and the importance of never giving up on your dreams. In honor of Better Hearing and Speech Month, Nina is challenging people with hearing loss to take action, find a solution and live by her motto 'Go for it, live it and experience it.'

"In this day and age, we are fortunate enough to have a variety of hearing loss treatments at our disposal, so there is no reason why anyone should have to struggle to hear," said Nina Poersch, 'Survivor' Season 30 contestant and cochlear implant recipient. "Take my story for instance. When I lost my hearing, I soon realized that hearing aids wouldn't work for me, but was told that I most likely wouldn't qualify for a cochlear implant. I insisted on being tested, and it turned out that I was a candidate for the technology. I have lived my life the same way ever since. I don't let anything stand in the way of my dreams just because I may have difficulty hearing."

Hearing loss is fast becoming one of the most serious health issues in the United States:

  • It affects almost 50 million Americans – that's more than the population of California, Oregon and Washington combined1,2
  • People today are losing their hearing faster than their parents and grandparents3
  • 1 of 8 children and teens have a permanent hearing loss3
  • 1 of 3 seniors over the age of 65 has a hearing loss4
  • 60 percent of veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan come home with hearing loss related injuries5

Additionally, as in Nina's case, many hearing professionals may be unclear of the current criteria to determine hearing implant candidacy, especially with newer solutions like Cochlear™ Hybrid™ Hearing. In fact, in a survey of 594 cochlear implant recipients, less than half (46%) reported being referred by audiologists or hearing aid dispensers, and 20% reported they were not referred by any professional, and instead learned about the technology elsewhere.6 This data demonstrates that it is increasingly more important for people who are struggling with their hearing aids to proactively ask their physician about other solutions, including implantable hearing technology.

"Even the most advanced hearing aids may not be enough for some people, making it very difficult to work, advance in their careers and keep in contact with their loved ones," said Chris Smith, President of Cochlear Americas. "This is the reason why we do what we do. We are here to improve the quality of life of those with hearing loss and empower them to hear and be heard. We are dedicated to bringing to market new solutions that treat a variety of different hearing losses and provide people with a renewed sense of hope where it was once lost. We are honored to work with Nina Poersch on this endeavor and encourage those impacted by the condition to take action today."

During the month of May, Nina will be speaking to local communities around the country about her cochlear implant story and inspiring them to take action. To learn more about hearing loss and its treatment options, visit www.LifesWorthHearing.com.

About Better Hearing and Speech Month
Better Hearing and Speech Month is an annual event that has taken place every May since 1927. The event was started to raise public awareness, knowledge and understanding of various forms of communication impairments, including hearing and speech. With hearing loss becoming more common as younger people lose hearing due to noise exposure and as baby boomers age, Better Hearing and Speech Month has become even more important as a means of reaching those reluctant to have their hearing tested.

About Cochlear Implants
Cochlear implants are a proven medical option for infants as young as 12 months old with profound hearing loss in both ears, children aged two and older with severe-to-profound hearing loss, and adults with moderate-to-profound hearing loss in both ears. They are electronic devices that bypass damaged hair cells in the inner ear, or cochlea, and stimulate the hearing nerve directly.

According to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, approximately 324,200 people worldwide have received cochlear implants. In the United States, roughly 58,000 adults and 38,000 children have received them.7 Nearly two million people in the United States could be candidates for cochlear implant technology, but only 5 percent of patients who can benefit have been treated.8,9

About Cochlear Limited (ASX: COH)
Cochlear is the global leader in implantable hearing solutions. The company has a global workforce of 2,700 people and invests more than AUS$100 million a year in research and development. Products include hearing systems for cochlear, bone conduction and acoustic implants.

Over 400,000 people of all ages, across more than 100 countries, now hear because of Cochlear.

www.cochlear.com

References
[1] Hearing Health Foundation (US). Hearing loss & tinnitus statistics [Online]. 2014 Oct. Available: http://hearinghealthfoundation.org/statistics.
[2] United States Census Burearu. 2013
[3] Starkey Hearing Foundation (US). What we do: Listen carefully [Online]. 2014 Oct. Available: http://www.starkeyhearingfoundation.org/programs#/listencarefully.
[4] Hearing Loss Association of America (US). Basic facts about hearing loss [Online]. 2014 Oct. Available: http://www.hearingloss.org/content/basic-facts-about-hearing-loss.
[5] Hearing Health Foundation (US). A salute to the veterans [Online]. 2014 Oct. Available:  http://hearinghealthfoundation.org/salute_to_the_veterans.
[6] Cochlear Americas Hearing Aids and Cochlear Implants Recipient Survey, December 2008.
[7] National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders. Cochlear Implants [Internet] 2014 Aug 18 [cited 2015 Apr 13]. Available: http://www.nidcd.nih.gov/health/hearing/coch.asp
[8]  Blanchfield, B.B., et. al. (2001). The severely to profoundly hearing-impaired population in the United States: Prevalence estimates and demographics. JAAA. 12, 183-189.
[9] Internal Cochlear Data on File. June, 2009.

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SOURCE Cochlear Limited



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