SET FOR MAY 21, 2017

The seventh annual Connecticut Walk4Hearing will step off and “step up for people with hearing loss” on Sunday, May 21, 2017.  Hundreds of walkers are expected at Walnut Hill Park, New Britain, CT, for this inspiring event.  The Walk4Hearing is the largest nationwide event of its kind to raise awareness of hearing loss, eradicate the stigma of hearing loss, and raise funds for organizations involving people with hearing loss.  The Walk4Hearing is now taking place in 22 metropolitan areas across the country, and is produced by Hearing Loss Association, Bethesda, Maryland (www.hearingloss.org).  Hearing Loss Association of America (“HLAA”) is the nation’s voice for people with hearing loss.

The official kickoff of the 2017 Walk will take place on March 30, 2017, at Connecticut Childrens Medical Center, Hartford, CT.  The kickoff event will provide all the information you will need to participate in The Walk.

The Walk4Hearing is a 5K walk and provides a vehicle for local charitable and educational organizations to raise funds that further the causes of education, information, support, and advocacy for people with hearing loss.  The Connecticut Walk4Hearing has attracted hundreds of walkers every year for the past five years, and has raised thousands of dollars each year to provide education, information, support, and advocacy for people with hearing loss.

In Connecticut there are three local HLAA chapters.  The Connecticut chapters are Hear Here Hartford HLAA Chapter (Wethersfield, CT), HLAA Eastern CT Chapter (Storrs, CT), and HLAA SW Connecticut Chapter (Norwalk, CT).

While the local HLAA chapters are the nucleus for the Walk4Hearing, HLAA does enlist the help, support, and participation of other local educational and charitable organizations as “alliance partners”.  In the Hartford area there is a strong community base of people with hearing loss.  Alliance partners include the American School for the Deaf, CREC Soundbridge School, CT Chapter Hands & Voices, Connecticut Association of the Deaf, Yale Hearing & Balance Center, Lawrence & Memorial Hospital, and CT Children’s Medical Center.

Local corporate sponsors for the Connecticut Walk4Hearing include United HealthCare, Hartford Hospital, Sprint Relay Connecticut, Oticon, New England Center for Hearing, United Bank Foundation, The Law Office of Terry Bedard, Connecticut Academy of Audiology, and Wave Car Wash.  On a national level, sponsors include CapTel, Med-El, hi Health Innovations, IntriCon, Advanced Bionics, Cochlear America, Regal Entertainment Group, and Hamilton CapTel.

It is estimated that 48 million Americans suffer some degree of hearing loss and 360 million people world-wide.  Hearing loss affects people of all ages.  Hearing loss occurs in 5 out of every 1,000 newborns.  Fifteen percent of children ages 6 – 19 have some measurable hearing loss.  Fourteen percent of those between ages 45 – 64 have some degree of hearing loss, and one out of every three people over age 65 have some degree of hearing loss.  Hearing loss affects an individual’s ability to communicate with others.  That in turn has an emotional and social impact, as well as an economic impact.  Untreated hearing loss can affect cognitive development in infants and toddlers, and can accelerate the loss of cognitive functions in older adults.  It is time to make hearing loss an issue of national concern.

Hearing loss is an invisible condition, and many who experience it face challenges in their everyday lives that people with more visible disabilities do not. But there are steps that people with hearing loss can take (technology and other communication strategies) to gain greater access to communication.   A long standing mission of HLAA is to educate and inform people with hearing loss about alternatives for accessible communication.

The Walk4Hearing website is at www.walk4hearing .org   More information concerning the Connecticut Walk4Hearing and other Walk events across the country is also available on the website.