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Miss America 2005 Identifies with ABC's 'What About Brian'

Deidre Downs relates to today's episode about living with hearing loss

Bloomington, Minn. and Birmingham, Ala., Jan. 16 /PRNewswire/ -- Monday's ABC primetime drama "What About Brian" explored the neglected issue of hearing loss. Characters faced a situation millions of real families face everyday - coping with a hearing-impaired child. Deidre Downs, Miss America 2005, is stepping out to discuss the issue based on her own personal experience.

"Growing up with hearing loss was tough; especially as I got older and was more concerned about my appearance," says Downs.

Downs knows and understands the need for education about hearing loss. As a child, she was diagnosed with a hereditary disease that causes mid-frequency hearing loss. She overcame the obstacles of her impairment. In 2005 Downs became Miss America, and is now a first-year medical student at the University of Alabama. On top of that, she raises awareness about the disability as a GN ReSound spokesperson, one of the leading producers of hearing aids.

Downs can address the different solutions she has used over the years and how the new technology is working to change the negative stigma associated with hearing aids, making them more fashionable and relevant to the 21st century. Pulse, by GN ReSound is one such hearing aid and is the first to offer rechargability like that of a cell phone. Additionally, Pulse offers clear, crisp sound that adjusts the wearer's environment.

HEARING FACTS -- 560 million people are estimated to suffer from hearing loss. That figure is expected to grow to more than 700 million by 2015. -- 1 in 6 baby boomers have a hearing problem. -- 1 in 14 Generation X'ers already have hearing loss. -- At least 1.4 million children have hearing problems. -- Of the 31 million Americans who suffer from hearing loss, only 24% actually wear a hearing aid.

About GN ReSound

Based in Bloomington, MN, GN ReSound is a subsidiary of GN Store Nord. The hearing solutions provider regularly tops the industry with innovative, user- friendly technologies that improve quality of life through hearing assistance. The company is widely recognized as the hearing industry's innovation leader. Currently GN ReSound products include Metrix, AiR, Pixel, Plus5 and Pulse. For more information on the complete family of ReSound hearing instruments, visit www.gnresound.com/

Taken from sev.prnewswire.com/health-care-hospitals/20070116/CLTU04316012007-1.html

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