SOMERSET, NEW JERSEY — Voting is underway for the 2023 Oticon Focus on People Awards, which celebrate outstanding individuals who demonstrate that hearing loss does not limit achievement or the ability to make a difference. Now in its 25th year, the awards program invites people to vote for 12 finalists across four categories: Student Standouts, Adult Trailblazers, Heroic Hearing Care Professionals, and the new Hearing Loss Champions category.
“This year’s finalists, like the more than 300 finalists honored previously, are remarkable individuals who have found unique ways to make the world more inclusive for those with hearing loss. Their inspiring personal journeys demonstrate that hearing loss does not equate to limits.”
–Jacob Torpe Winter, Vice President of Marketing at Oticon, Inc.
Voting is open through December 8th on the Oticon website. The number of votes received will determine the 1st, 2nd and 3rd place winners in each category. The top winners will receive cash prizes, with 1st place winners also getting Oticon hearing aids if eligible.
The 2023 finalists in four categories are as follows:
- Yaduraj Choudhary (Downingtown, PA) – A first-year student at the University of Pennsylvania, Yaduraj is the founder and president of 3 Tiny Bones, a student-led nonprofit focused on destigmatizing hearing loss and educating communities on healthy hearing.
- Alana Douglas (Denton, TX) – Alana, a junior at Texas Women’s University, is pursuing a nursing degree with plans to become a midwife focusing on the deaf community. She teaches coding and robotics to deaf and hard of hearing children, including underserved Chicagoland students via Zoom.
- Ryan Fuller (Eureka, IL) – 17-year-old Ryan wrote “Billy the Bully Stomper,” a story about a bug who is bullied for wearing hearing aids, to help his classmates better understand the challenges of hearing loss. A scholar athlete and role model throughout his schooling, Ryan advocates for himself with coaches and referees/umpires.
Hearing Loss Champions
- Brett Bachmann (Louisville, KY) – Brett, the CEO of the non-profit Heuser Hearing Institute, has worked tirelessly to develop and implement programs that create lasting changes, especially focused on the welfare of children with hearing loss and others who are marginalized.
- Latisha Porter-Vaughn (Newark, NJ) – Latisha is the first African American President of the Hearing Loss Association of America, New Jersey Chapter and a paralegal for the Center for Social Justice at Seton Hall University. She is also the author of two books that provide guidance and inspiration to people with hearing loss and their families.
- Emily Truell (Montello, WI) – Emily, who experienced single-sided deafness due to a brain tumor, is determined to support other brain tumor warriors on their journey through her popular blog, www.luckybraintumor.com.
- Zaineb Abdulla (Chicago, IL) – Zaineb is the founder of Deaf Defy, a non-profit that brings sign language, hearing aids, and audiological care to children living in refugee camps and conflict areas around the world.
- Kathleen Dugan (Lunenburg, MA) – Kathleen found her true calling working on her family’s farm and addressed her hearing loss to care for the animals on the farm.
- Abby Silbaugh (Chicago, IL) – Abby is enrolled in a highly selective PhD program in Neurobiology at the University of Chicago and dedicates hundreds of hours each year to tutoring inner-city children and volunteering in various initiatives.
Heroic Hearing Care Professionals
- Roni Dinkes, AuD (Millersville, MD) – Dr. Dinkes is a passionate advocate for hearing care and hearing health, with a focus on diabetes and hearing loss. She educates and advocates for audiological monitoring of hearing and balance issues caused by chronic disease.
- Michelle Hu, AuD (La Jolla, CA) – Dr. Hu is a pediatric audiologist committed to empowering families and their children in making the best choices based on their unique circumstances.
- Chandace Jeep, AuD (Durango, CO) – Dr. Jeep, a pediatric audiologist, is a Global Hearing Healthcare Ambassador volunteer with the non-profit Hearing The Call, working on creating a newborn hearing screening program for Zambia and fitting income-eligible residents with hearing aids in Colorado.
Be sure to visit oticon.com/fop to cast your vote
Source: Oticon Inc