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Miracle-Ear Children's Foundation Donates Free Hearing Aids to 2001 Children; 2001 Spokeschild Amber Ricker Hopes to Inspire

MINNEAPOLIS /PRNewswire/ -- The Miracle-Ear Children's Foundation recently named 15-year-old Amber Ricker of Bryan, Ohio, its 2001 spokeschild, and announced that the high school sophomore is the 2001st child to benefit from its free hearing aid program since 1990.

A Minneapolis-based non-profit organization staffed by company and franchise volunteers of Miracle-Ear, Inc., the Miracle-Ear Children's Foundation supports underprivileged children with hearing impairments. The Miracle-Ear Children's Foundation has donated nearly 3,500 hearing aids to 2001 children, including Amber, whose hearing aids make a real 'difference in her self-esteem,' says her mother, Laurie Ricker.* Amber sustained a skull fracture as a toddler that adversely affected her hearing. After seven childhood ear surgeries, she received her first hearing aids from the Miracle-Ear Children's Foundation three years ago at age 12.

An optimistic child able to overcome the social obstacles that often impact children with hearing impairments, Amber took sign language and speech therapy throughout elementary school. Today, she is a cheerful high school honor roll student and avid outdoorswoman who plans to go to college in her home state. 'I'm so excited,' says Amber. 'I feel very lucky to have my hearing aids, and I hope that I can make other kids feel good about their hearing aids, too.'

Filling a Tremendous Need

'One in seven school-age American children has a measurable hearing loss in one or both ears, and 37% of children with only minimal hearing loss will fail at least one grade,' explains Margaret McDonald, Executive Director of the Miracle-Ear Children's Foundation. 'There's a tremendous need for children to have their hearing checked early in life to prevent social and emotional difficulties.* The good news is that if a hearing impairment is detected, it can often be relieved with hearing aids.'

While some families can afford hundreds of dollars for hearing aids for their children, and other families qualify for public programs, there are many American families for whom purchasing this expensive necessity is a real hardship. 'Our goal is to help ensure that each child in America -- whatever their economic circumstances -- has an equal chance to grow up hearing and participating in the world around them,' says McDonald.

You Can Make a Difference

Impaired hearing is the most common congenital anomaly that American children are born with, and yet it's not routinely tested for at birth. Hearing is also one of the most delicate and easily damaged of our five senses. The Miracle-Ear Children's Foundation encourages parents and educators to:

-- Regularly test children's hearing, especially if they exhibit symptoms of hearing loss, or don't demonstrate age-appropriate communication behaviors.

-- Take steps to eliminate or mitigate sustained loud noises that can harm a child's hearing throughout childhood.

-- Help hearing children understand and accept kids who wear hearing aids.

The Miracle-Ear Children's Foundation has Tip Sheets available with helpful information about hearing and hearing aids for parents and educators.

More about the Miracle-Ear Children's Foundation

The Miracle-Ear Children's Foundation works in cooperation with over 1,100 Miracle-Ear(R) and Sears Hearing Aid Center locations nationwide to provide free hearing aids and services to children ages 16 and under whose families qualify. For more information about the Miracle-Ear Children's Foundation, please call 800-234-5422. To locate your nearest Miracle-Ear Center or Sears Hearing Aid Center, please visit our Web site at

* Hearing aids do not restore natural hearing. Individual experiences vary depending on severity of hearing loss, accuracy of evaluation, proper fit and ability to adapt to amplification.
Signia Xperience - July 2024

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