Camilla Gilbert of Cincinnati, Ohio is among the outstanding individuals with hearing loss honored by the 2015 Oticon Focus on People Awards, a national competition that celebrates individuals who are helping to eliminate negative stereotypes of what it means to have a hearing loss. As the First Place Winner in the Advocacy Category, Camilla was honored at a special awards ceremony at Oticon, Inc. US headquarters in Somerset, New Jersey on October 8. More than 120 hearing care professionals from across the US attended the event to celebrate Camilla’s achievements. As part of her award, Camilla has designated the non-profit Ear Community as her choice for a $1,000 donation from Oticon, Inc.
More than 10,000 votes were cast by people from across the country to help determine who among the 12 finalists would be the 2015 first, second and third place winners in the Adult, Student, Practitioner and Advocacy categories.
Camilla was born with bilateral microtia, a congenital condition in which the ears do not fully develop and which can result in hearing loss. As a child, she was fitted with a bone anchored hearing solution that she covered with a headband every day until age 26 when she found information about her condition and much needed support in the non-profit Ear Community. Today, the young girl who hid her hearing loss from the world is a confident adult who educates and advocates for others with hearing loss. Camilla serves on the committee for the Ear Community’s Microtia and Atresia Support Group and is a past president of Southwest Ohio chapter of the Hearing Loss Association of America.
“Individuals like Camilla are inspiring role models for people living with hearing loss,” states Oticon President Peer Lauritsen. “The remarkable people who are honored in this year’s Oticon Focus on People Awards program have taken their unique circumstances and transformed their lives with a positive outlook that has enabled them to overcome challenges and accomplish goals well beyond what many thought possible.”
The Oticon Focus on People Awards program was created in 1997 by Oticon, Inc., one of the world’s oldest and most respected hearing instrument manufacturers. By celebrating the accomplishments and contributions of individuals with hearing loss, Oticon, Inc. aims to call attention to common misconceptions about hearing loss and motivate people with hearing loss to take advantage of the help that is available to them. The company’s goal is to reach out to the 80 percent of an estimated 28 million Americans who could benefit from hearing solutions, but who fail to seek professional help.
“The Ear Community Organization is proud to have Camilla Gilbert as one of our board members,” says Melissa Tumblin. “Camilla, has been a member of Ear Community’s online support group, the Microtia and Atresia Support Group on Facebook, for the past four years, helping members understand more about Microtia and Atresia as an adult in the same situation. Camilla was also Ear Community’s first college scholarship recipient and since then has gone on to further her education with a degree in social work. “Thank you for being a part of Ear Community in so many ways Camilla!…. from someone searching for support to becoming a support group member offering support to others now and to becoming an Ear Community board member.” “Thank you also for selecting the Ear Community Organization as the charity organization of your choice to receive $1,000.00 (USD) from Oticon so that our organization can continue to help even more individuals born with Microtia and Atresia in need.” “The Ear Community Organization is honored to receive this donation!” Thank you very much to Oticon for making these funds possible for organizations such as Ear Community and for individuals like Camilla, so that we can continue advocating with our voices, helping individuals in the same situation, everywhere.” – Melissa Tumblin, Founder of Ear Community
Read the inspirational stories of all 12 winners of the Oticon Focus on People Awards here and the following link is where you can hear Camilla’s thank you speech, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yTtJTMQk6t4&feature=youtu.be