Oticon Inc, Somerset, NJ, announced that it is seeking nominations of outstanding individuals with any degree of hearing loss for the 2017 Oticon Focus on People Awards. The national awards program—now in its 19th year—honors students, adults, and advocacy volunteers who show that hearing loss does not limit a person’s ability to make a positive difference.

By celebrating the achievements and contributions of people with hearing loss, the company aims to change outdated stereotypes that discourage people from seeking professional help for their hearing loss. “The Oticon Focus on People Awards was the first national awards program to recognize everyday people doing amazing things, who also happened to have hearing loss,” said Nancy Palmere, Oticon director of consumer marketing and PR who heads up the awards program. “More than 19 years later, this national celebration of people with hearing loss continues to create the kind of awareness that changes attitudes and opens doors of opportunity for all.”

Anyone may nominate. Easy-to-complete nomination forms can be downloaded from the OticonUSA website.

Deadline for nominations is May 15, 2017.

People with all degrees of hearing loss—from mild to more severe—are eligible. There is also a special category for hearing care practitioners with or without hearing loss.

Award categories include: Student, for full-time students with hearing loss, ages 6 -25; Adult, for people with hearing loss, ages 21 and above; and Advocacy, for volunteers with hearing loss, who are actively involved in support efforts for the hard-of-hearing and deaf community. A special Practitioner category recognizes hearing care professionals who go “above and beyond” through humanitarian and public education efforts. Nominees in the Practitioner category are not required to have a hearing loss to qualify.

First-place winners receive a $1,000 cash prize and a $1,000 donation to the charity of their choice.  First-place winners in the Student, Adult, and Advocacy categories also receive Oticon BrainHearing™ hearing devices.  Second-place winners receive a $500 cash prize, and third-place winners, a $250 cash prize.

Following the close of nominations, the general public will be invited to vote online to determine first-, second-, and third-place winners in each category.

Source: Oticon