Oticon Inc, Somerset, NJ, has announced the company is seeking outstanding individuals with hearing loss for the 2015 Oticon Focus on People Awards. Now in its 17th year, the national awards program celebrates students, adults and advocacy volunteers with any degree of hearing loss whose accomplishments demonstrate that hearing loss does not limit a person’s ability to make a difference in their families, communities, or the world. According to Oticon, by spotlighting the achievements and contributions of people with hearing loss, the company aims to change outdated stereotypes that discourage people from seeking professional help for their hearing loss.

Winners of the award in each of four categories receive prizes and national recognition. 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” to change the world for people with hearing loss through humanitarian and public education efforts. Nominees in the Practitioner category are not required to have a hearing loss to qualify.

Anyone may nominate using a simple online form available on the Focus on People page on the Oticon website.

The deadline for nominations is July 15, 2015.

According to the announcement from Oticon, since its inception, the Oticon Focus on People Awards has presented awards totaling more than $340,000 to deserving individuals and the not-for-profit causes of their choice. First place winners in Student, Adult and Advocacy categories receive a $1,000 cash prize, $1,000 donation to the charity of their choice, and Oticon advanced technology hearing devices. The first place winner in the Hearing Care Practitioner category receives a $1,000 cash prize and $1,000 to a charity of his or her choice. Second place winners receive a $500 cash prize and third place winners receive a $250 cash prize.

Oticon reports that the general public will be invited to vote online for three finalists in each category following close of the call for nominations. Votes will determine first, second and third place winners in each category.

Source: Oticon