EPIC Hearing Healthcare and Local West Chester Teen Are Urging Americans to Listen Hear! About Hearing Loss
POMONA, Calif., May 4, 2015 /PRNewswire/ — West Chester teen Sophia Lebano has been advocating for hearing health awareness since she was diagnosed with profound (severe) hearing loss in both ears, when she was just eight years old. Today, as a successful and motivated 14-year-old, Sophia has been selected by EPIC Hearing Healthcare (EPIC) as a national spokesperson for its Listen Hear! public education initiative.
EPIC and Sophia kicked off their partnership at the Seventh Annual “Hear We Go” 5K & Family Fun Day to raise funds to support programs and services related to hearing loss and hearing conservation at Nemours/Alfred I. DuPont Hospital for Children. Sophia has participated in the walk for five years, having founded Team Lebano in 2010 bringing together 45 people in just 10 days. Sophia’s Team Lebano has grown to include more than 250 members, and reached countless more through outreach for donations and support. This year, EPIC provided a matching donation of $1 for every 50 cents Team Lebano raised through the walk, helping Sophia’s team raise more than $4,000 for 2015. Over the past five years, Team Lebano has raised more than $15,000, achieving the status of the highest funds raised through individual donations by any team participating in the walk.
“We were so inspired by Sophia’s story and how she has taken her situation of experiencing hearing loss and turned it into an opportunity to motivate others, we knew we wanted to support her and help amplify her voice as a partner for our Listen Hear!initiative,” said Mike Reha, director of sales and marketing for EPIC, who flew in from Los Angeles to participate in the race.
Through the Listen Hear! initiative, EPIC provides free education materials to educate employers and consumers on the impact of untreated hearing loss, so they “Listen Up” and take steps now to address and treat hearing loss, and to safeguard healthy hearing for the future.
Sophia will lend her voice to the Listen Hear! campaign by contributing her perspective to education materials and through outreach to local and national media. Among the topics she will discuss is the importance of employer coverage of hearing evaluations and hearing aid treatment. She and many other families have been surprised to learn that hearing aids are often not covered by major medical insurance. The National Institutes of Health reports that hearing aids cost on average about $1,500, but can be as high as$3,000-$5,000.
“When I learned I had hearing loss, I worried there were so many things I couldn’t do, but today, with the help of my hearing aids, I’m an honors student in mainstream classes, I sing, dance, and play the flute and piano,” said Sophia. “I can’t imagine cost being a barrier to achieving these goals, so I’m advocating for all children to have access to the hearing care they need.”
EPIC has offered to sponsor Sophia and cover her hearing aid treatment, but Sophia says the real hurdle will be educating more people on the need to advocate for hearing health care for everyone.
EPIC is the first and largest provider of hearing insurance nationwide, providing access to a robust network of hearing professionals as well as substantial savings on hearing aids from major manufacturers. For more information, visit www.EPICHearing.com.
SOURCE: EPIC Hearing Healthcare
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