Hear for the Holidays Winner


For millions of Americans, life with hearing loss is a sad reality—unable to enjoy the sounds of nature, music or a comfortable chat with friends and family. To bring holiday cheer to someone with hearing loss, Oticon and David M. Illich, Au.D., Chief Audiologist of Palomar Health, teamed up to give the gift of sound. The 17th Annual Hear for the Holidays Essay Contest rewarded one deserving hearing-impaired individual with a new pair of Oticon digital hearing aids and a lifetime of free office visits to Dr. Illich.

This year’s winner is a first: a single father named Jacob Jones. His older brother submitted a touching essay describing how Jacob was born with 75 percent hearing loss in one ear and 30 percent loss in the other. Jacob has struggled with his hearing loss and central auditory processing disorder his entire life. Although he overcame the pure pressure of wearing hearing aids, in his younger years, Jacob struggled with social anxieties and setbacks educationally due to his hearing insecurities.
Jacob currently works in a heavy machinery shop where being alert and able to hear is a safety issue, and feels his hearing loss is holding him back from pursuing a more advanced career. As a single father, he desires to move forward in his profession.
In one situation, Jacob’s daughter was trying to get his attention, and even though he was wearing his hearing aids, he still could not hear his daughter calling for help.
This essay moved the selection committee and they rewarded Jacob with the new digital hearing aids.
Dr. Illich also received an essay from a mother named Vanessa Baldervas. She described how she is unable to understand her children and cancels appointments because she feels embarrassed asking people to repeat their words. Although she did not “win” the essay contest, she is getting fitted with a complimentary pair of Oticon Opn S 1 Rechargeable hearing devices.
Oticon released the world’s most technologically advanced Ultra power digital hearing aids, Oticon Exceed 1. Nothing on the market is like it for a special population.

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