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Hearing Health Advisory Board Formed

Industry, Unions And Institutions Unite To Address Impact Of Hearing Loss On Society

WASHINGTON, D.C.: October 2003 -
The board of directors of the Deafness Research Foundation (DRF) announced today the formation of a Hearing Health Advisory Board (HHAB) to be chaired by Nick Laperle, President and COO of Sonomax Hearing Healthcare Inc. of Montreal, Canada. The Hearing Health Advisory Board will consist of leaders from U.S. and international corporations, trade unions and medical institutions working in concert for the first time ever to devise and enact tactics to raise public awareness and action about the tremendous impact that congenital and noise-induced hearing loss has on individuals and society.

Explaining the need for such a board, Laperle said, Hearing loss is a major and under recognized global health problem with severe economic and social implications. Approximately 10 percent of the world population is affected by hearing loss, of which 28 million are Americans.

The HHAB will carry out the mission of the Deafness Research Foundation: to make a lifetime of hearing health possible for all people through quality research, public education, and advocacy. The HHABs objectives are focused on detection, prevention,
intervention, and research and will set out to:

advocate increased funding for detection, intervention and services for deaf and hard of- hearing children and adults
ingrain safe hearing practices as a way of life by promoting the highest standards of hearing protection in the workplace and home
improve access to advanced hearing technology and breakthroughs in hearing science for deaf and hard-of-hearing children and adults
provide direction for future social and academic hearing research.

Laperle explained that corporate responsibility is the primary reason why big industry has begun to sign onto the HHAB: In all the years that I have been growing Sonomax, there has always been one underlying factor that has made my job easier: that everybody I encounter wants to feel they are contributing something to the world. Joining the Hearing Health Advisory Board is one such opportunity. With support from DRF and its constituencies, members of the HHAB will not only shape a public policy and public education agenda but will also have the opportunity to advance new business relationships and build strategic alliances.

Laperles interest in this charitable venture comes from the activist stance he takes on improving hearing health and his confidence in DRF as an established organization in the areas of hearing research, public education, and advocacy. According to the Director of the National Institute of Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, James Battey, M.D., PhD., DRF is absolutely essential to hearing research in America. Laperle is also compelled by the support DRF receives from American leaders such as U.S. Representative James Walsh (NY), co-chair of the Congressional Hearing Health Caucus. According to Rep. Walsh, DRF is one of the most effective groups promoting hearing issues in Washington today.

For more information on joining the Hearing Health Advisory Board, contact Susan Greco, Executive Director of DRF: 202-289-5850, ex. 1007; susan@drf.org.

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Deafness Research Foundation is the nations largest voluntary health organization devoted to research and public education related to hearing loss and hearing health. It sponsors the National Campaign for Hearing Health, the Congressional Hearing Health Caucus and publishes Hearing Health magazine. For more information visit www.hearinghealth.net, www.drf.org, and www.hearinghealthmag.com.

CONTACT: Susan Greco
(202) 256-8986

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