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Help change mindsets for World Hearing Day

Keep on moving – Tiffany’s story

March 16, 2024
Published by Phonak Team

When Team Phonak caught up with Tiffany Walker of Lubbock, Texas, she was in the final stages of preparing for the New York City Half Marathon in support of the Lupus Research Alliance. She spoke about the value of starting small and surprising herself – and the ways she encourages others to do the same.   

The first time Tiffany put on running shoes for a reason, her daughter was still in a baby stroller. They started taking walks in the morning and evening, during the cooler hours, and the circuit of three blocks soon turned into six. The distances kept growing, and the baby stroller was eventually replaced by a jogging stroller – the same one Tiffany pushed across the finish line of her first 5K race, still not believing she had done it.   

As her daughter became more independent, Tiffany began training more seriously on her own. There were more 5Ks, 10Ks and, about five years after those first walks, a half-marathon. The medal around her neck proved it, but she only remembered recovering in the back of an ambulance. She vowed to try again because the way she saw it, the achievement only counted if she could recall the thrill of finishing.   

World Hearing Day – March 3, 2024

Written by Jenny Carrick, Marketing and Communications Director at UC Davis, Enrollment Management and Undergraduate Education.

We’re thrilled to feature this insightful article on World Hearing Day (March 3), originally published on the UC Davis Health Blog. Jenny Carrick, a valued member of our community and brand advocate, brings her expertise to this important topic. Special thanks to UC Davis for their collaboration in sharing this piece on the HLM blog.

Now, hear this! Help change mindsets for World Hearing Day (March 3) (

When you attend an event in person, whether a meeting in a conference room or larger event, such as a keynote session at an academic conference, it’s pretty likely there will be someone with disabling hearing loss in the room. And there’s a strong chance that person doesn’t use a hearing device.

According to the World Health Organization, over 5% of the world’s population requires rehabilitation, such as hearing aids, to address their disabling hearing loss. This number is expected to double by 2050 to over 700 million people – or one in every 10 people.

Sadly, worldwide, only 17% of those who could benefit from the use of hearing devices actually use one. Access to hearing health care is a big barrier both in the U.S. and throughout the world. Additionally, in the U.S., hearing devices are not routinely covered by health insurance. Exasperating the issue are the many myths and stigmas that surround hearing aids and hearing loss; such as hearing aids are big, bulky devices that make a lot of noise and don’t really help.

The impact of unaddressed hearing loss doesn’t just result in annoyingly loud TVs and repeating, “What?” several times a day. Unaddressed hearing loss leads to isolation, less engagement, loneliness and even dementia. It can also impact immobility.

As someone living with hearing loss and using hearing aids, along with other assistive devices, I’m happy to share that there are many things we all can do to destigmatize hearing loss and be advocates for those who are hard of hearing. As an employer, the University of California steps up to the plate by providing hearing aid coverage and workplace accommodations.

Jenny Carrick
Jenny Carrick
Jenny Carrick

How to be hearing loss friendly [PDF]

Now, as coworkers, colleagues, mentors, health care providers and educators, we can take the next steps. One simple way is when planning gatherings or events, plan for attendees who are hard of hearing. Don’t wait for them to self-identify – the statistics show to expect it.


Use them. Insist others use them. If an event room has access to microphones just use them. There will always be those who say, “oh, my voice carries so I don’t need to use a mic.” Wrong. Regardless of your voice, there is someone who probably cannot hear you. And, when you don’t use a mic, do you think the person speaking after you will use it?

Assistive devices

Does your event space offer assistive devices for those with hearing loss? These devices are easy to use for most of us with hearing aids and making it clear where we can access one is really appreciated.


Try to plan activities in rooms with quality acoustics or other methods of reducing background noise. Even those with normal hearing are challenged in noisy environments. In situations like that, I easily drop out due to “listening fatigue.” I cannot sustain constantly focusing on understanding over a long period of time.


If captions are available, please use them. Whether video or Zoom, captions are a simple way to include everyone.

Don’t say…

Try to avoid saying, “I’ll tell you later,” when asked to repeat something. Don’t respond to a request with, “Oh, aren’t you wearing your hearing aids today?” Better yet, don’t’ advise someone with hearing loss to “sit up front.”

Hearing device remote
Hearing device remote

Although the hearing aids and microphones made life easier for Mårten, he still found that all the slamming and noise in the kitchen affected his work situation. He turned to Phonak to see if there was anything more that could be done.

“That was when I got to try the Roger On. It is a microphone that connects to my hearing aids and can be placed anywhere,” he says. “It can be placed in a fixed location, held in the hand, or even hung around the neck/attached to the clothing of colleagues. As well as filtering out all the chatter, I can now hear everything my colleague by the microphone is saying, no matter where we are in the kitchen.”

Hearing aids liberated me

Mårten says that he has received many reactions from people around him. From his German friends on jobs abroad asking him what has happened as they no longer need to repeat their questions, to the staff at Löderups Strandbad telling him how he has become so responsive.

“It has to be the ultimate feedback for a person who is hard of hearing,” he says.

Mårten describes the hearing aids as a form of liberation and that they have actually given him a whole new life, both at home and at work. From the time he gets up in the morning until he goes to bed at night, he feels less stress and fatigue. Additionally, with his brain no longer under as much strain, he can remember more things and is more aware of what is happening around him.

“I can even hear conversations that I am not involved in, which means that I can now pick up details and provide input about what is being discussed and decided upon. My hearing aids are by far the best thing that has ever happened to me.”