PAF Community Champions: HearStrong
A non-profit organization based in Syracuse, New York, the HearStrong Foundation searches for ways to challenge how hearing loss and its solutions, such as hearing aids, are viewed. It tells the stories and honors the accomplishments of those who have overcome hearing loss and inspire others to do the same.
Founded in 2013 by Ed Keller, the President/CEO of EarQ, a nationwide network of hearing aid providers, HearStrong participated in the NFLPA’s annual Smocks & Jocks, the invitation only art auction and jazz brunch, which was held this year in Atlanta prior to Super Bowl LIII.
“There’s an issue in our country where there’s 30 million people with untreated hearing loss, and it has serious effects on the quality of life,” Keller said. “And with all the noise and head trauma associated with professional football, football at any level, we theorized many, many years ago that this problem would only be more likely to happen with football players.
“So, we’ve been working on this project with them and that’s how we got to know these guys, by testing their hearing and trying to identify the issue.
“The HearStrong Foundation was created because 80 percent of the people with hearing loss just don’t do anything about it. There’s just a negative stigma about it. We wanted to share empowering stories and we were thankful that the (NFL) Players Association and its members have always stepped up when we have an opportunity to recognize an individual.”
HearStrong has stepped up itself by administering hearing tests on former players at NFLPA events around the country.
“We test their hearing and they’re provided with hearing devices that helps them to get re-connected. It happens to members of the NFLPA of all ages,” Keller said. “The great news is that the NFLPA is such a great organization that they provide the devices through the programs so there is no cost. So, getting the word out on that is really important.
“We’re in a different world nowadays. It’s time to do progressive thinking. Think about your future and your quality of life and join the technology generation. If you have a problem, let us check it out for you and we’ll provide you with those devices. There’s just a whole world to get engaged with and it’s very satisfying. The technology is incredible.”
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