Oticon Inc announced that it is looking for nominations of outstanding individuals with hearing loss for the 2016 Oticon Focus on People Awards. Now in its 18th year, the national awards program honors students, adults and advocacy volunteers with any degree of hearing loss whose accomplishments show that hearing loss does not limit a person’s ability to make a positive difference.

According to Oticon, by celebrating the achievements and contributions of people with hearing loss, the company aims to change outdated stereotypes that discourage people from seeking professional help for their hearing loss.

“When Oticon created the Focus on People Awards in 1997, it was the first awards program to recognize everyday people, who also happened to have hearing loss, doing amazing things,” said Nancy Palmere, senior marketing manager at Oticon and director of the awards program. “More than 245 Oticon Focus on People Award winners later, the program continues to create the kind of awareness that changes attitudes and opens doors of opportunity for all people with hearing loss.”

There is no typical winner and people with all degrees of hearing loss, from mild to more severe, are eligible. Past Focus on People Award winners have included high-achieving students, scholar athletes, successful business people, bloggers, dedicated volunteers, and civic leaders.

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

Deadline for nominations is May 15, 2016.

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.

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. For more information about the 2016 Oticon Focus on People Awards and to obtain a nomination form, visit the Focus on People page on the Oticon website.

Source: Oticon