The 2006 Oticon Focus on People Awards honored 15 outstanding people with hearing loss who prove that hearing loss does not limit a person’s ability to live a full, productive and even, inspiring life.

The national awards competition, sponsored by Oticon Inc, Somerset, NJ, celebrated the accomplishments of first place winners: Stacey Lim of Stow, Ohio, Nathan Walcker of Prior Lake, Wis, and Linda Heller of Wilmington, Del.

Practitioners Barbara Jenkins, AuD, BCABA, Gayle Stout, MA, Mary Kay Uchmanowicz, AuD, and Louis R. Sieminski, PhD of Forty Fort, Pa, were also honored at the awards ceremony for their contributes to improving the world of hearing impaired people.

Now in its ninth year, the Oticon Focus on People Awards program is designed to focus attention on common misconceptions about hearing loss, correct negative stereotypes and motivate people with hearing loss to take advantage of the help that is available to them.

“Oticon created the Focus on People Awards to show the world that hearing loss does not diminish a person’s ability to live life to its fullest and most productive,” says Oticon President Peer Lauritsen. “Most importantly, we want to encourage those with hearing loss to seek professional guidance and take advantage of the new technologies and procedures that enable them to live the life they want with the hearing they have.”

Selected from over 200 nominees, a total of 15 winners earned first, second or third place honors in one of the program’s five categories: Student (full-time students with hearing loss, ages 6-21), Adult (people with hearing loss, ages 21 and beyond), Advocacy (individuals of all ages involved in advocacy for the deaf and hard-of-hearing community), Practitioner, and Pediatric Practitioner (for hearing care professionals currently in practice).

The winners were selected by independent judging committee composed of leading hearing care professionals. This year’s program judges included: Susan Chadwick, FAAA of Otolaryngology Associations in Fairfax, Va; Larry Eng, AuD of Golden Gate Hearing Services in San Francisco; Lisa Olson MS, of California Ear Institute in Palo Alto, Calif; John Salisbury, AuD, of Clifton Springs Hearing Center in Clifton Springs, NY; and Melodie Willihnganz, MS, of Beaver Dam Family Hearing Care in Beaver Dam, Wis.

[SOURCE: Oticon, October 2006]