Siemens Hearing Instruments Inc, Piscataway, NJ, has announced partnerships with the Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation (PBTF) and CancerCare® to bring top-of-the-line hearing aids and audiology services to cancer patients across the country. It is part of The Baton Pass™, a grassroots fundraising campaign for Stand Up To Cancer (SU2C). Siemens will donate hearing aids valued at $1 million, to be distributed via PBTF and CancerCare’s network of hospitals to benefit patients with permanent hearing loss due to the side-effects of chemotherapy and/or radiation, surgery, or other cancer treatment regimens. The hearing aid donation complements The Baton Pass campaign launched recently, through which Siemens pledged to donate up to $1 million in research funds to Stand Up To Cancer for accelerated cancer research.
“Hearing loss significantly affects quality of life—but in many cases can be remedied,” says Scott Davis, CEO, Siemens Hearing Instruments. “We are donating our most advanced micon™ hearing aids, including the tiny Pure® receiver-in-the-canal (RIC), waterproof Aquaris™, the comfortable Motion®, and superpower Nitro® behind-the-ear (BTE) to patients who have lost their hearing as a consequence of cancer treatment. Children and adults undergoing treatment have enough to worry about. By partnering with these two recognized organizations and their network of leading cancer institutions, we’re able to provide the gift of hearing to as many patients as possible.”
The donation also aims to raise awareness about the phenomenon of ototoxicity among platinum-based chemotherapy medications, radiation therapy, and other regimens used to treat brain, lung, ovarian, and other types of cancers. Although widely successful in treating cancer, these treatments may also damage healthy cochlear hair cells found in the inner ear—often resulting in irreversible hearing loss.
“Cancer treatment side-effects can drastically alter a person’s life and present tremendous physical, emotional and practical challenges,” says CancerCare chief program and communications officer Brian Tomlinson, MPA, BSW. “Our clients will now be better able to cope with one of the most devastating treatment side effects—hearing loss—thanks to the generosity of Siemens and the commitment of MD Anderson Cancer Center. We commend Siemens for [its] pledge to provide a higher quality of care for people living with cancer and for raising ototoxicity awareness.”
The effects of ototoxicity and hearing loss are well documented. Left untreated, hearing loss has been associated with a variety of conditions in both adults and children. Adult hearing loss has been linked to cognitive decline, depression, dementia, heart disease, and diabetes. In children, untreated hearing loss may result in poor cognitive and psychosocial development and delayed or compromised speech and language skills.
“Treatment-induced hearing deficits may one day be preventable—a thing of the past–for all young survivors of brain cancer,” adds Joanne Salcido, PhD, vice president of research and family support at the PBTF. “Until then, the availability of hearing aids is critical. Thanks to Siemens’ generous contribution and commitment, the Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation is able to make a difference for children today.”
Hospitals receiving the hearing aids include The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, and Children’s National Health System, Washington DC. Siemens is also providing on-site audiology support through its educational team, as well as a dedicated customer service and technical support line for the participating cancer hospitals.