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January 18, 2006

For Immediate Release: AG Bell Receives $100,000 Grant from Oticon Foundation

From: AG Bell - Jan 18, 2006

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For Immediate Release

AG Bell Receives $100,000 Grant from Oticon Foundation
Grant to Fund FIRST YEARS Online Distance Learning Program

Washington, DC, January 18, 2006 – The Oticon Foundation has awarded the Alexander Graham Bell Association for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (AG Bell) a $100,000 grant to expand the FIRST YEARS online distance learning certificate program for professionals working with children with hearing loss. A collaboration between AG Bell and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, FIRST YEARS provides professionals in the fields of deaf education, speech-language pathology, audiology and early intervention the skills and knowledge to help children with hearing loss learn to listen and talk.

“The combination of hearing technology and education has exponentially increased opportunities for children with hearing loss in the last 10 years, and the FIRST YEARS online certificate program gives experienced professionals a new way to learn about the latest advances in the field,” said K. Todd Houston, Ph.D., Executive Director/CEO at AG Bell. “With the support of the Oticon Foundation, AG Bell plans to replicate the program and enable more professionals to enhance their educational and clinical practices.”

“We are proud to provide funding for the FIRST YEARS program as part of Oticon’s commitment to fostering knowledge sharing that will benefit hearing care professionals and the people with hearing loss that they serve. Through AG Bell and the FIRST YEARS program, we will enable more professionals to expand their skills by making professional development opportunities available anytime, anywhere through distance learning,” said Donald J. Schum, Ph.D./CCC-A, Vice President, Audiology and Professional Relations, at Oticon, Inc. “By increasing the number of professionals specializing in auditory learning, AG Bell and the FIRST YEARS program will open doors to even more families who want their children to learn the power of their own voice.”

The Alexander Graham Bell Association for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing is a lifelong resource, support network, and advocate for listening, learning, talking, and living independently with hearing loss. Through publications, outreach, training, scholarships, and financial aid, AG Bell promotes the use of spoken language and hearing technology. Headquartered in Washington, DC with chapters located in the United States and Canada and a network of international affiliates, AG Bell's global presence provides its members and the public with the support they need – close to home. With over a century of service, AG Bell supports its mission: Advocating Independence through Listening and Talking! For more information, contact AG Bell at (202) 337- 5220 or visit the AG Bell website at

As one of the world’s oldest foundations, the Oticon Foundation sponsors social and educational programs, publications, conferences, cultural activities and campaigns - both for researchers, hearing care professionals and the general public. The Foundation’s statutes mandate that income be used to support the needs of hearing-impaired individuals as well as organizations that serve people with hearing loss. The Oticon Foundation is the largest shareholder in William Demant Holding, with a shareholding just below 60 percent. Income is derived through its ownership of the majority of shares in the Oticon Company. For more information, visit the Oticon Foundation website at


Jessica Ripper
Senior Director of Marketing and Communications
Alexander Graham Bell Association for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing
Phone: (202) 337-5220 ext. 123
Fax: (202) 337-8314