The Hearing Loss Association of America (HLAA) will hold its 13th annual 5K Westchester/Rockland Walk4Hearing®, taking place at FDR State Park, Yorktown Heights, New York, on Saturday, May 11, 2019.
Westchester/Rockland’s walk is part of a nationally coordinated series of 20 HLAA walks. These charity events have two specific goals: To increase awareness of the causes and consequences of hearing loss, and to raise funds to provide critical programs and support services for the estimated forty-eight million Americans – or about one in ten – who suffer from hearing loss.
Otis Livingston, Emmy-Award winning sports anchor of WCBS-TV Channel 2, and ambassador for the Westchester/Rockland Walk4Hearing, will cut the ceremonial ribbon to start the 2019 walk, with registration beginning at 10:00 am, pre-walk ceremonies beginning at 11:00 am, and the walk begins at 11:30 am.
Walk4Hearing Director Ronnie Adler stated, “Tens of thousands of people in our area need help knowing where to turn to find appropriate hearing aids, cochlear implants, and other assistive listening devices that will enable them to interact with their hearing peers. In addition, they may need assistance in locating employment resources, educational, social and networking skills, parenting skills, help in obtaining insurance reimbursement and various forms of government aid, and other programs and services for people with hearing loss.”
“We’re delighted to return to FDR State Park for the 2019 Walk4Hearing. The money we raise goes to providing college scholarships to deserving high school students, support for local adults and seniors who feel isolated in a hearing world, help for returning soldiers with hearing injuries, and advocacy at a national level for hearing aid compatible cell phones, captioning in theaters and other entertainment venues, government aid and insurance reimbursement for those who don’t know where else to turn.”
The twenty national walks have raised more than $15 million to provide a wide range of information, advocacy and support services for people of all ages who have hearing loss. Other Walk4Hearing events around the United States include Buffalo, Chicago, Colorado, Connecticut, Houston, Long Beach (CA), Louisville, Mesa (AZ), Michigan, Milwaukee, Nashville, New England, New Jersey, New York City, North Carolina, Philadelphia, Salt Lake City, San Diego and Washington, D.C.
Local organizations that have benefited from the Walk4Hearing include the New York School for the Deaf (White Plains), Center for Hearing and Communications (New York City), Canines for Kids, Mercy College Speech and Hearing Center, Broadway’s Theatre Development Fund (TDF) captioning access program, and our own Blair & Anita Mazin College Scholarship Fund, which has awarded 30 scholarships to college-bound high school seniors with hearing loss.
As a result of past national HLAA advocacy programs, Medicare has expanded eligibility for senior citizens with hearing loss who may benefit from a cochlear implant. Together with other allied organizations, HLAA successfully advocated for less expensive “over the counter” hearing aids and for the restoration of funding for the Infant Hearing Screening Program. HLAA advocacy has also resulted in cell phones becoming more compatible with hearing aids, and they are working with members of Congress to introduce the Hearing Aid Tax Credit Bill, seeking to secure tax credits for hearing aid expenditures. In addition, HLAA worked with Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) in Rochester, NY to provide free tuition to American servicemen and servicewomen returning from Iraq and Afghanistan who have suffered serious hearing-related injuries (the most prevalent service-related injury).
The 2019 Westchester/Rockland Walk4Hearing will feature hundreds of walkers from throughout Westchester and Rockland Counties, New York City, Long Island and New Jersey. In addition to the 5K (3.1 mile) walk, the event will include information tables staffed by hearing professionals and equipment manufacturers, the Westchester County Office for People with Disabilities, a DJ, food and entertainment, and a children’s tent with games, face painting, a “bouncy castle” and a magician. Remote CART captioning services and a sign language interpreter will be available for the opening ceremony.
Local sponsors of the 2019 Westchester/Rockland Walk4Hearing are ENT & Allergy Associates, GEICO, Hudson Valley Audiology Center, New York-Presbyterian Westchester Division, New York Relay Service, Power One Batteries by VARTA, Metro Sound Pros, News12 Hudson Valley, Noselli Family, Howie and Karen Ratner, Resound Hearing Aids, Dr. Thomas Roland, and Matthew Solof.