Oticon Hearing Foundation has announced plans to support hearing care professional volunteers who come to the aid of people with hearing loss impacted by the wildfires in the Northwest. The nonprofit Foundation will make available reconditioned hearing aids and supplies to the volunteers who donate their time and expertise to care for hearing-impaired victims, many of them displaced children and adults. The newest initiative expands the Foundation’s disaster relief efforts already under way in hurricane-ravaged areas of the US, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands.
The Oticon Hearing Foundation is committed to supporting a Community of Caring among hearing care professionals who volunteer their professional care to in-need populations. Hearing care professionals can contact the Oticon Regional Audiology Department at 800-526-3921 for more information about the Oticon Hearing Foundation and support of hearing impaired disaster victims.
Wildfire Audiology Research Initiative
Oticon, Inc. is partnering with the University of Montana, Department of Communicative Sciences and Disorders, to support a unique audiology research project that will explore the potential hearing health issues of communities impacted by wildfires. Missoula and other cities in Montana are at a “Hazard Level” for air quality resulting from unprecedented wildfires. Both children and adults are susceptible to upper respiratory disorders from particulate matter (smoke) in the air. Residents are urged not to go outdoors, a situation that can be especially problematic for children. Currently, Missoula county schools have a mandatory hearing screening for all kindergarten and first grade students. The University plans assist school districts with behavioral screening with added tympanometry and otoacoustic emissions (OAE).
“We are pleased to support the efforts of University of Montana, Department of Communicative Sciences and Disorders, to explore wildfire health issues and potential media ear disorders from upper respiratory disorders,” said Don Schum, PhD, vice president of audiology for Oticon, Inc. “This mass problem has not previously been documented and has the potential to bring considerable benefit not only to residents of Montana communities but to all communities that are experiencing hazardous air quality levels from wildfires.”
The Oticon funding will support transportation, supplies, coordination, and research reporting by the University’s Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology students.