WEST WINDSOR – New Jersey residents of all ages are invited to join in the Garden State Walk4Hearing® on Oct. 15 to call attention to the growing national problem of hearing loss to raise money for hearing loss prevention and education programs, and to support New Jersey residents with hearing loss.
The 5K Walk, sponsored by The Hearing Loss Association of New Jersey, as part of the national effort led by the Hearing Loss Association of America (HLAA), a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, will take place at Mercer County Park West, West Windsor. Anyone interested in hearing loss is also invited to attend the free kick-off luncheon event to be held Sunday, Aug. 28.
“The Walk4Hearing is a great opportunity for individuals, families, and groups to step up and raise awareness to help end the stigma of hearing loss in our area,” said Arlene Romoff, president of HLA-NJ. “There are a variety of ways people can get involved, such as walking to raise funds, organizing a team of walkers as a team captain, sponsoring a walker or team, volunteering, or making a donation.”
An estimated 31 million Americans have some form of hearing loss, third in prominence among public health issues after heart disease and arthritis. The numbers of people with hearing loss are growing dramatically, due to such factors as heavily amplified rock music, widespread use of listening devices with ear bugs, and combat troops returning from Iraq and Afghanistan with hearing damaged by explosives.
“No matter what the age, hearing loss can have serious results, strain relationships and lead to workplace problems as well as isolation and depression,” said Romoff. Effects can be felt in many ways, from inability to enjoy dinners in a noisy restaurant to the danger posed by not being able to hear smoke or fire alarms.
Since 2006, thousands of people nationwide have joined the HLAA’s Walk4Hearing, presented nationally by AARP, the Presenting sponsor, T Mobile, a Platinum sponsor, and Advanced Bionics, Beltone, CapTel, Cochlear Americas, Phonak and SIP Sorenson Relay, all of which are Gold Sponsors. In 2011, the Garden State Walk4Hearing is one of 23 walks held across the United States. In 2010, HLAA held 18 walks across the US, raising over $4 million with more than 6,000 walkers. HLAA is the nation’s largest consumer advocacy organization for people with hearing loss, and is dedicated to providing education, support and advocacy to help people with hearing loss live full and productive lives. HLAA membership includes individuals, professionals and families touched by hearing loss.
Historically, funds raised in prior walks have been used to stop a tax from being imposed on hearing aids in health care reform, to partner with Amtrak to roll out captioning system-wide on announcement boards, and to aid the wireless industry in making wireless telephones compatible with hearing aids. Also, to reach out to young adults with hearing loss through the Hearing Loss Nation social networking site, www.hearinglossnation.org, to develop parental resources including the parent Wiki, www.kidsandhearingloss.org, to develop and post informational videos on www.hearingloss.org, on YouTube and on newly-available free DVDs, and in assisting the FCC to provide recommendations for accessibility for people with hearing loss in the national broadband (Internet) plan.
The free Kick-Off Luncheon Event will be held Sunday, Aug. 28, at 2 p.m. at the Montclair State University, Department of Communications Sciences & Disorders, 1515 Broad Street, Building B, Bloomfield, NJ 07003. At the Kick-Off event, HLA-NJ College Scholarships will be announced and presented to this year’s winners, and final specific details on the 2011 Walk4Hearing will be provided, in addition to the event’s complimentary luncheon to all who attend.
For more information about the Walk4Hearing, or to register, sponsor a team or volunteer, visit www.walk4hearing.com. For more information or specific details about these events, contact: Laura Lindson, chairperson, at Walk4Hearing@hearingloss-nj.org
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