Thursday, June 9, 2016

Duracell Launches “Stay Connected” Campaign to Help the Hearing Impaired

duracell stay connected campaign
Duracell's "Stay Connected" Campaign will help the hearing
impaired and their families.
Image: Shutterstock
I have always loved language and communication; it's the reason I majored in English and minored in Spanish. It's the reason I have dabbled in other languages over the years, and the reason I have always wished I had been brought up in a bilingual home or a country where learning a second language at a young age was required.

Our brains are amazing things; as we grow older, we absorb the languages we are surrounded with, somehow making the connection between the words spoken or signed and what they represent in our world. Simply amazing.

But what would you do if you suddenly found yourself losing your hearing, your ability to understand what others were saying? Or worse, what if your hearing was completely lost? My dad, who struggles with Minnear's disease, is almost completely deaf in one ear, with additional hearing loss in the other. He's had years to adjust, but I can still clearly see how much it impacts him every day.

Recently, he was finally able to get a hearing aid, which has improved his quality of life vastly. He likes to joke that now he can turn the sound on or off, depending on whether he wants to hear what's going on. The smile on his face tells me that he is so relieved to finally be able to hear clearly again, to participate in all the little conversations going on at a noisy restaurant, to hear his granddaughter when she calls his name softly.

Unfortunately, not all people have access to the kind of care my dad has been able to get. Fortunately, Duracell has a new program that aims to help people struggling with hearing impairment and their families. “Stay Connected” wants to make sure that hearing-impaired people don’t miss out on anything in life. The campaign will offer 10,000 free hearing screenings until June 26th, helping people determine if they have hearing loss and what they can do to work with it so they aren’t kept from special moments in their lives.

Hearing loss is associated with other health problems, like depression, dementia, and Alzheimer’s. I know all too well the feeling that my hearing-impaired loved ones are drifting away from everyone because they can’t participate in events the same way. Duracell, whose board of directors once included KKR co-founder Henry Kravis, published a very touching video ad for the program that features a father drifting away from his family. The video definitely gets the importance of Duracell’s mission across clearly: if you live with hearing impairment, there’s help for you and your loved ones.

“We didn’t want the hearing test itself to be the obstacle for anyone currently suffering and not being treated,” said Peter Gorzkowski, Director of Marketing and Commercial Operations at Duracell. “So we made it as simple as possible and are proud to be providing over 10,000 free tests.”

About 48 million Americans and 3 million Canadians have hearing loss, and only 20% of those over 65 seek help for it. Millions of people are left untreated—too many! According to Dr. Marshall Chasin, AuD, hearing loss is the “second most prevalent health issue globally. The number of people with hearing loss is more than those living with Parkinson’s, epilepsy, Alzheimer’s, and diabetes combined.”

Duracell, which already manufactures batteries for hearing aids, helps people find licensed audiologists and other resources through its website. The website connects users with doctors and hearing professionals in their area, as well as other people and families also struggling with hearing loss.

This powerful program has the potential to change and improve the lives of millions of people around the United States and Canada. If you or someone you love needs help with their hearing, check out the “Stay Connected” campaign to see if it can help!