February 4, 2008

WASHINGTON, DC — The Alexander Graham Bell Association for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (AG Bell) has announced the 2008 recipients of its highest association honors, recognizing individuals or organizations who make a significant contribution to the hearing loss community.

Established in 1890, AG Bell is the only national organization dedicated to supporting children and adults who are deaf or hard of hearing who use spoken language and hearing technology to communicate in mainstream society.

Begun in 1963, AG Bell’s association awards recognize individuals or organizations whose efforts have made a significant impact on the hearing loss community or have raised public awareness of hearing loss issues. Past recipients include individuals with hearing loss, such as Internet pioneer Vinton Cerf and former Miss America Heather Whitestone; US presidents and elected officials; and organizations such as the National Geographic Society, AT&T, and ABC Television.

The 2008 award recipients are:

The Alexander Graham Bell Award of Distinction: US Sen Tom Harkin (D-Iowa)
This award recognizes an individual or organization outside the field of hearing loss that has made an outstanding contribution to hearing loss issues. Harkin is a longtime advocate of early hearing detection and intervention, communication access and is a primary sponsor of the American with Disabilities Reauthorization Act of 2007.

The Volta Award: Marion Downs
This award is given to an individual or organization who has made a significant contribution within the field. Downs, a world-renowned pediatric audiologist, is regarded as the pioneer of early detection and intervention for children with hearing loss.

The Honors of the Association: Kathleen D. Sussman, MA
This award recognizes an individual who is directly involved in the hearing loss community and exhibits proven dedication toward the goals and purposes of the association. Sussman is a past president of the AG Bell board of directors, current member of the AG Bell Academy board of directors, and director of the Jean Weingarten Peninsula Oral School for the Deaf in Redwood City, Calif.