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2006 Oticon Focus on People Awards Honor Fifteen People Who Defy Stigma of Hearing Loss

San Francisco, October 28 The 2006 Oticon Focus on People Awards today honored 12 outstanding people with hearing loss who prove that hearing loss does not limit a persons ability to live a full, productive and even, inspiring life.

The national awards competition, sponsored by Oticon, Inc., one of the worlds oldest and most respected hearing aid manufacturers, celebrated the accomplishments of first place winners: Stacey Lim of Stow, OH, Nathan Walcker of Prior Lake, WI, and Linda Heller of Wilmington, DE.

Practitioners Barbara Jenkins, AuD, BCABA, Gayle Stout, MA, CCC-A, Mary Kay Uchmanowicz, AuD, CCC-A 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.

FP_awards.gifNow 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 persons ability to live life to its fullest and most productive, explained 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 programs 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) and Practitioner and Pediatric Practitioner (for hearing care professionals currently in practice).

Blue Ribbon Judging Panel

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

About Oticon

Oticon is one of the worlds oldest and most respected hearing aid manufacturers. The company was founded in Copenhagen in 1904 by Hans Demant, inspired by a desire to help his hearing impaired wife and others like her. Today, Oticon is located in over 100 countries, providing quality, state-of-the-art hearing instruments to people worldwide. A pioneer in digital technology, Oticon continues to develop and manufacture the newest, most technologically advanced hearing instruments to help people with hearing loss live the lives they want, with the hearing they have. The companys commitment to put People First in designing quality hearing care solutions is made stronger through partnership with dedicated and caring hearing care professionals in countries around the world.

For more information about the Oticon Focus on People Award and hearing health, log on to oticonus.com.

Helping to Change Perceptions of Hearing Loss - The 2006 Oticon Focus on
People Awards honored 4 outstanding people with hearing loss and 3 hearing care
practitioners for their contributions to improving the world of hearing impaired people
with hearing loss. Featured (left to right): Louis R. Sieminski, PhD, Linda Heller, Barbara
Jenkins, AuD, BCABA, Oticon President Peer Lauritsen, Gayle Stout, MA, CCC-A, Mary Kay
Uchmanowicz, AuD, CCC-A , Stacey Lim (front right) and Nathan Walcker (back right).

2006 Oticon Focus on People Category Winners

First Place Category Winners


Stacey Lim of Stow, Ohio
Stacey, who was born with a profound hearing loss, is an inspiration to everyone she meets. Told that she would never learn to hear or speak, Stacey has accomplished incredible things including becoming fluent in conversational German. She successfully combined her interest in audiology and the German language and culture during a year-long stay in Germany as a Fulbright Scholar. With plans to become a professor of Audiology, Stacey recently earned her AuD from the University of Akron and is pursuing a PhD at Kent State University.


Nathan Walcker of Prior Lake, Minnesota
Nathan, who lost his hearing to meningitis in infancy, has never let hearing loss stand in the way of his achievements. As Saint Thomas Academys Cadet Colonel, Nathan served as the leader of the schools Corps of Cadets more than 500 students -- during his senior year. Generous with his time and talents, Nathan is a bigger-than-life presence, serving as a role model for all but especially to youngsters with disabilities. An outstanding football player throughout high school, Nathan is now a sophomore at Columbia University where he plans to major in economics.


Linda Heller, MA, CCC-A of Wilmington, Delaware
Linda has never allowed her lifelong hearing loss to interfere with her ability to serve as an advocate for those with disabilities. A practicing audiologist for 20 years, she is now a health and disabilities consultant. Recognizing that people with hearing loss need training and support after they obtain a hearing aid, she founded the Delaware Chapter of Self Help for Hard of Hearing People, Inc. (now the Hearing Loss Association of Delaware) and serves as the President of its Board of Directors. Linda also represents the Delaware Division of Services for Aging and Adults with Physical Disabilities (DSAAPD) on many boards and councils for people with disabilities in her home state.


Barbara Jenkins, AuD, BCABA of Centennial, Colorado
Barbara is Colorados first Board Certified Doctor of Audiology. Whether in her own office or in another country, Barbara is passionate about helping people with hearing loss. She founded the Casa del Nino Sordo, the first and only school for the deaf in Mexico. She traveled to Mexico five times to fit hundreds of children with hearing aids and helped to equip the Casa del Nino Sordo with computers and provide speech therapy for the children. At home, through her work with back-to-school health fairs and other local events, she has helped screen hundreds of adults and children for hearing loss.

Pediatric Practitioner

Gayle Stout, MA, CCC-A of Houston, Texas
Gayle is an advocate, innovator and supporter of the hearing impaired, particularly children. A curriculum she developed and published to help children use whatever hearing capacity they have available is still widely used in 50 states and in countries around the world. Gayle was the first educational audiologist in Houston where she helped train other audiologists and she was the first education audiologist at Houston School for Deaf Children (now The Center for Hearing and Speech). As an Associate Professor of Audiology, Gayle trained ENT students at Baylor University and at the University of Houston.

Second Place Winners


Deb Cappella of Castle Rock, CO


Jake Spinowitz of Woodbury, NY;


Daniel Froman of San Diego, CA


Mary Kay Uchmanowicz, AuD, CCC-A of Smithfield, RI

Pediatric Practitioner

Margaret Jahnke, MA, CCC-A of Cincinnati, OH.

Third Place Winners


Mert Schwarz of Waseca, MN


Tyler Silva Robertson of Attleboro, MA


Bridget McEowen of Highlands Ranch, CO


Louis R. Sieminski, PhD of Forty Fort, PA

Pediatric Practitioner

Elizabeth Domico, MS, CCC-A of Memphis, TN.

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