The Oticon Foundation and the non-profit Ida Institute have launched a worldwide open call for ideas that have the potential to generate better understanding of hearing loss, change public perception and encourage people to take action. Ideas, Speak up – Action and Awareness for Hearing Loss is an open innovation competition, funded by the Oticon Foundation and facilitated by the Ida Institute. The idea competition is designed to involve hearing care professionals, students, patients, families and the general public to submit their original ideas online for awareness projects that have the potential to affect change locally and/or globally, are simple and cost-effective and inspire people to action.
Why is such a competition needed? More than 250 million people worldwide have hearing loss and 80 percent go untreated. Many attempts at raising awareness have been tried in the past and yet none have had any lasting impact. Hearing loss has high costs both individually and for society. Past negative images and stereotypes prevent people from seeking solutions. Hearing loss will continue to affect an ever greater number of people due to an aging population. Unacknowledged and untreated hearing loss is linked to health problems, stigma, job loss and social exclusion.
Now is the time to make a difference by coming up with ideas to increase public awareness. So don’t wait. Speak up, post your ideas, share, vote, win. If you Click ideas, you can read already submitted ideas.
Until September 30, 2012, ideas will be shared online at www.awarenessforhearingloss.com and commenting and voting will take place. From October through February 2013, implementation plans for the top-ten ideas will be developed. In February, an expert panel of judges, made up of thought leaders in a variety of hearing and health care, innovation and communication disciplines, will select three winning ideas that will be announced at the April 2013 American Academy of Audiology Conference in Anaheim, CA.
Each prize winner will receive a round trip airline ticket to Anaheim, CA, three nights stay at a hotel, a subsistence stipend and entry to the AAA Conference.
About the Oticon Foundation
Founded in 1957, the Oticon Foundation funds social and educational programs, publications, conferences, cultural activities and campaigns – both for researchers, hearing care professionals and the general public. The Foundation supports the needs of hearing impaired individuals as well as organizations that serve people with hearing loss.
About the Ida Institute
Established in 2007 with a grant from the Oticon Foundation, the Ida Institute is a non-profit independent educational institute located in Copenhagen, Denmark. The Institute seeks to foster a better understanding of the human dynamics associated with hearing loss, by serving as a catalyst for knowledge sharing and the development of innovative and practical tools.
Marisa Sarto entered her photojournalism idea, Hear Nor There, in the
competition. Following is Grace Tiessen’s entry, Hearing loss is a public health issue.
Please VOTE. Use the search bar to find the idea you want to vote for, open it.
At the top there will be 5 stars. Click on the stars.
• Hearing loss is a Public Health Issue;
• that everyone throughout their lives should have their hearing tested;
• that audiologists and doctors must collaborate and prescribe hearing aids or CIs and follow up.
I am profoundly hard of hearing and wear two Cochlear Implants. I get annual checkups to get a report on my health. For years I was told my health was excellent when in fact I was in poor psychological health. I was anxious, under stress, withdrawn, isolated. I had trouble with my close relationships. It was impossible for me to go to school or work. My three children, now in their fifties, with a family history of hearing loss, have never had their hearing tested.
In 2012, I went to a Research Symposium at the Hearing Loss Association of America Convention, How the Brain makes sense of the World of Sound, and learned
• 85% of people who need hearing aids do not get them in the US and the UK (free hearing aids). So money is not the problem.
• There is a strong connection between dementia and untreated hearing loss with a 32% faster rate of cognitive decline in people with hearing loss vs normal hearing.
• The representation of speech within the brain breaks down with sensorineural hearing loss.
The Solution. Hearing must become part of our medical record with our primary care physician, just like cholesterol, blood pressure, mammograms, vaccinations, family history of disease.
There must be a mandated schedule of hearing tests (an audiogram), and mandated followup. Testing at birth, at ages 2, 4, 6, 8, 10, 12, 15, 20 and then every five years for life.
How to implement this? Next time I go for my annual checkup, I am going to give the above information to my primary care doctor. I am going to suggest to everybody on my Facebook page that they do the same.
The American Academy of Audiologists, Hearing Loss Association of America and American Speech-Language-Hearing Association must work to have this passed into law. Testing at birth is already mandated. Expand this to mandated life long testing of hearing and mandated followup.