More than 1,000 New Yorkers from the five boroughs and Long Island will gather for the fifth annual NYC Walk4Hearing on Sunday, Sept. 30 in New York City’s Riverside Park. Organized by the Hearing Loss Association of America’s (HLAA) Manhattan Chapter, the event raises awareness of the challenges facing 36 million Americans with hearing loss and their families. Proceeds support HLAA’s mission to educate, provide support services, and advocate for people with hearing loss.
“Hearing loss as a public health issue is largely misunderstood and remains under the radar screen,” says Suzanne D’Amico, NYC Walk Chair, whose 10-year-old daughter has moderately severe hearing loss. “It’s important to get the word out that this complex condition affects people of all ages and impacts all aspects of everyday life,” she continues. “We’re thrilled that so many families of children with hearing loss and hundreds of amazing walkers and volunteers are joining this important cause. We’re also introducing groundbreaking technology to help people wearing hearing aids.”
The event will take place Sunday, Sept. 30, in Riverside Park, starting at West 97th Street and Riverside Drive and following a 5k (3.1-mile) route. Walkers benefit from state-of-the-art technology such as captioned announcements before and during the event that will be streamed to smartphones. A new looping system that is being installed in public places to enable people wearing hearing aids to hear announcements will be showcased. Walk festivities include the Cheer New York Cheerleaders, children’s entertainment, snacks, giveaways, free hearing screenings, prizes, and more.
Registration begins at 9: 00 and the Walk starts at 10:00 am. For more information and to pre-register, visit www.walk4hearing.org. Walk teams and individual walkers from the Metro area are welcome. Same-day registration is also available.
Hundreds of New Yorkers are supporting the cause, including families, friends, co-workers, schools, educators, physicians, audiologists, students, business leaders, and others impacted by hearing loss. All are raising funds by forming Walk4Hearing teams and joining existing teams to highlight the issues of coping with hearing loss in their personal and professional lives. Groups from the Children’s Hearing Institute, Clarke School for Hearing and Speech, Center for Hearing and Communication, A.G. Bell-New York, Weill Cornell Medical College, St. Ann’s Church for the Deaf, area colleges and universities, and residents of Penn South, a coop complex in Chelsea, are on board.
Local sponsors include New York Relay, Mill Neck Family of Organizations, Regal Entertainment, Children’s Hearing Institute, Dr. Paul Hammerschlag, Joe Gordon, and Theatre Development Fund. National sponsors include CapTel, MED-EL, T-Mobile, and IntriCon.
Since the launch of the national Walk4Hearing series in six cities in 2006, the program has steadily gained momentum, raising more than $3.5 million to end the stigma of hearing loss and provide support and resources for hearing loss prevention. Walks are taking place in 22 cities this year.
The Hearing Loss Association of America is headquartered in Bethesda, MD and has a network of 200 chapters and 15 state organizations nationwide and is the nation’s foremost consumer and advocacy organization for people with hearing loss. According to the National Center for Health Statistics, 36 million (17 percent) Americans have some degree of hearing loss, making it a public health issue third in line after heart disease and arthritis. HLAA provides assistance and resources for people with hearing loss and their families. For more information, visit www.hearingloss.org.
The Manhattan Chapter offers education, monthly meetings, and support groups for people with hearing loss. Funds raised by the walk are used to award scholarships to high school students with hearing loss, provide grants to hearing-loss-related organizations for hearing loss research, employment assistance for people with hearing loss, and captioning of Broadway shows. The Chapter is promoting the installation of hearing loops in businesses and public places in NYC.