In 13 years, the Oticon Focus on People Awards have recognized more than 195 extraordinary people whose courage, vision, and commitment are changing the perception of what it means to have a hearing loss. Oticon Inc, Somerset, NJ, is hoping that hearing care professionals, their support staff, educators, colleagues, family, and friends will continue to support the program’s goals by nominating outstanding individuals with any degree of hearing loss.

The company created the Focus on People Awards in 1997 to honor hearing-impaired students, adults, and advocacy volunteers whose contributions and accomplishments could help to change outdated stereotypes that discourage people from seeking professional help. The program has awarded more than $175,000 to outstanding individuals and the not-for-profit causes of their choice.

“We are not the least bit superstitious about reaching our 13-year mark,” said Peer Lauritsen, the company’s president. “Since its inception, the Focus on People Awards have helped to make a positive difference in the lives of the individuals we have honored and to demonstrate clearly for the media and the general public that hearing loss does not limit a person’s ability to make a difference in their families, their communities, or the world. Focus on People Awards recipients consistently show that it is not ‘luck’ but a determination to succeed, achieve, and contribute that distinguishes them as role models for all.”

Anyone can nominate an individual for this year’s awards, which are offered in the following categories:
• Student, for young people with hearing loss, ages 6 to 21, who are full-time students
• Adults, for people with hearing loss, ages 21 and above
• Advocacy, for adults with hearing loss, ages 21 and above who actively volunteer their time in advocacy or support efforts for the hearing-impaired and deaf community (full-time students in advocacy should apply for the Student category)
• Practitioner recognizes hearing care professionals in general practice and pediatric practitioners in school or clinical settings who go “above and beyond.” Nominees in the professional category are not required to have a hearing loss to qualify.

Top winners in all categories will receive a $1,000 award and a $1,000 award to the nonprofit group of their choice. First place winners in the Student, Adult, and Advocacy categories will receive a set of advanced technology Oticon hearing solutions.

Second-place winners in each category will receive a $500 award, and third-place winners will receive $250. All nominees, whether or not they are selected as a top winner, will receive a certificate of recognition.

People may nominate themselves or other individuals for the awards. Nominators complete a simple form that asks for a brief description of the nominee’s accomplishments and contributions. To submit a nomination, please visit, under the Professional or Consumer sections and click on the Oticon Focus on People Awards link.

The deadline for award nominations is September 20. Award winners will be announced in October.

[Source: Oticon]