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May is Hearing Awareness Month

Friday, April 20th 2007 10:19:30am

Media Release - For Immediate Release

Hear for Life Hearing Centres to host 12th Annual Hear for Life Party on May 2nd, 2007

(Toronto, Ontario, April 20, 2007)  With the return of spring come the sounds of summer--birds returning from winter migration, wind blowing through the new leaves on trees, and waves splashing on the shore.  May is Hearing Awareness Month, the time of year to celebrate the sounds of life after a long winter indoors.

But hearing isn't something we should take for granted, according to Rhonda Martin, who has been conducting hearing tests since 1979, and is co-owner of Hear for Life Hearing Centres and Community Hearing Support Services Inc., which owns and operates clinics at Sears locations across Southern Ontario.  "People are reporting hearing loss at much younger ages, and in larger numbers.  It's not just an issue among seniors," she says.

Approximately 3 million Canadians have some degree of hearing loss, with the biggest increase reported among 40 and 50-year olds according to the Hearing Foundation of Canada., but only 20% are likely to ever seek corrective measures.

"It's important for people to recognize when they are beginning to experience a loss of hearing," explains Martin.  "What many people don't realize is that the longer a person has been suffering from untreated hearing loss, the less hearing capacity they will regain with a hearing instrument, because the brain gets used to not hearing certain sounds.  That's why it's so important for people to recognize hearing impairment early and take action, for themselves or for their family members."

At their 12th Annual Hear for Life party on May 2nd, Hear for Life Hearing Centres will provide free hearing screening and bring in hearing aid manufacturers Siemens and Unitron to demonstrate the expanding range of options available to remediate hearing loss.

The party also features special guest speaker Gael Hannan, a hearing impaired writer and actor who will be performing the internationally renowned one woman show Unheard Voices, an informative and humorous presentation about hearing health. Aidan Mason, guitarist and violinist for Anne Murray, will perform with guitarist Mike Allen.

"This is going to be our biggest celebration with great entertainment and a draw for a free trip to Las Vegas.  With a larger banquet facility at the Old Mill, only steps from the subway, we'll be able to accommodate twice as many people as last year," says Martin.  "Events like the Hear for Life party help to destigmatize hearing loss and encourage people to rediscover the sounds of life."

Admission to the Hear for Life party is free.  It takes place on May 2nd from 10 AM to 4 PM at the Old Mill Inn & Spa, next to the Old Mill Subway Station on the Bloor West subway line.  A free luncheon, door prizes and a draw for a Las Vegas trip for 2 are included.  Space is limited and reservations are required.  Seats may be booked by calling Shelley at 416 296 1264.  Also for further information, visit


Contact:  Lisa Martin at 416-461-3555

Hear for Life Hearing Centres


Hearing Loss

* Approximately 3 million Canadians have some degree of hearing loss

* Up to 60% of seniors over the age of 65 have hearing loss requiring assistive devices

* A National Health Interview Survey done in the early 1990s by the National Center for Health Statistics reported that between 1971 and 1990 the number of people between the ages of 46 and 64 with hearing loss increased 26 percent, and the number between the ages of 18 and 44 increased 17 percent

* Historically, only 20% ever seek corrective measures

* The longer a person has been suffering from untreated hearing loss, the less likely they will regain their ability to hear a wide range of sound with a hearing instrument, because the brain gets used to not hearing certain sounds

* Causes of hearing loss:  overexposure to noise (33.7%); aging (28%); infection or injury (17.1%); genetics (4.4%); and other (16.8%)

* Hearing loss can have a profound impact on emotional, physical and social well-being.  Untreated hearing loss can lead to symptoms of depression, dissatisfaction with life, reduced functional and cognitive health and withdrawal from social activities

Signs of Hearing Loss

* You miss parts of conversations and continually ask people to repeat themselves

* The high and low tones disappear - you don't hear birds singing anymore

* Your family complains you have the TV up too loud

* You have to turn up the volume on the telephone to hear properly

* You can't distinguish speech from background noises - you can't follow dinnertime conversation when others are talking and music playing

* You find yourself straining to read lips and facial expressions to understand what someone is saying

Hearing Instruments

* Help maintain effective communication and a high quality of life

* Currently  hearing instruments go beyond the old standard hearing aid

* There are a wide range of types and styles, such as behind the ear, in the ear and completely in the canal

* They come in either digital or analogue modes

* Digital instruments, the more popular choice, actually have a computer chip in the hearing aid that examines incoming sound and adjusts the sound according to hearing needs. The sounds have less noise and some of the digital aids have formulas to attempt to reduce background noise. They automatically adjust the level of amplification so that volume controls are not necessary.

* The Ontario Assistive Devices Program, (ADP offers an allowance of up to $500 or 75% per aid for adults or children. Call 1-800-268-6021 or (416) 327-8804 or visit the website:

Hear for Life Hearing Centres

* Evolved from R. Martin & Associates (established in 1988)

* Opened its first office-based location in 1992 at Coxwell and Danforth under the name East York Hearing Centres

* Opened a dispensary in the Toronto East General Hospital in 1998

* Opened it's first Sears Hearing Centre in 2000, for a total of 10 locations operation in Sears Stores in the GTA and Southern Ontario

* Besides fitting hearing instruments and hearing protection devices, Hear for Life Hearing Centres also fit musician earplugs and custom in-ear monitors for renowned entertainers from around the world, including the Rolling Stones, Nelly Furtado and many of the Canadian Idols, to name a few

Community Hearing Support Services

* Established by East York Hearing Centres in 2000 to operate Hearing Centres within Sears stores under the Canadian License of Sears Canada.

* 5 Locations in GTA:  Etobicoke (Sherway Gardens Mall),  North York (Yorkdale), Thornhill (Promenade), Scarborough (Scarborough Town Centre and Mississauga (Erin Mills Centre)

* 5 locations elsewhere in Sarnia (Lambton Mall), London, Windsor, Hamilton, St. Catharines

* In 2006, received Readers' Choice Award as Best Hearing Centres from the Scarborough Mirror, East York Mirror, Forever Young, and most recently the Etobicoke Guardian

* Recognized with a Best Business Award from the Etobicoke Chamber of Commerce in March 2003

Rhonda Martin

* Established R. Martin & Associates in 1988 as a home-visit practice that offered hearing tests, evaluations, hearing instrument fittings, and repairs for those physically unable to attend a clinic or dispensary location

* Hearing Instrument Specialist, ADP Authorizer and Vendor

* Instructor at the George Brown College Hearing Insturment Practitioners Program for the past 7 years

Lisa Martin

* CEO, Business Development Leader for East York Hearing Centre and full partner of EYHC

* In 2002, named, "Woman Entrepreneur of the Year", by the Riverdale Community Development Corporation

* In 2003, nominated for the Rotman Canadian Woman Entrepreneur of the Year, an initiative of the Joseph L. Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto


For further information, contact Lisa Martin at 416-461-3555