AG Bell in USA Today

Advertisement Reaches Millions through MediaPlanet’s Vision & Hearing Health Campaign

The Alexander Graham Bell Association for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing reached more than 1.3 million readers with a print advertisement in a USA Today editorial supplement on Friday, March 13 to raise awareness that children who are deaf and hard of hearing can listen and talk. An accompanying article in the supplement by Ted Meyer, M.D., Ph.D., AG Bell president-elect, drew public attention to newborn hearing screening and hearing screening and outlined first steps for parents of children with hearing loss.
AG Bell is excited to be included in the supplement, which is part of MediaPlanet’s Vision and Hearing Health campaign, an annual initiative that aims to raise awareness about vision and hearing loss, new technologies and to provide expert commentary on the latest developments in the field. More than 450,000 copies of the USA Today supplement were distributed in top media markets—New York, North Central Florida, Dallas, Carolinas, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Nashville and Boston—and shared digitally, reaching even more readers.
Through a compelling image and a powerful message, the AG Bell advertisement shows the abilities of children who are deaf and hard of hearing to listen and talk with the use of technology as they share their thoughts and feelings with those close to them. The ad features a photo of a parent and child, with their faces framed by their dialogue: “Today, my deaf son heard me call his name. He spoke the words ‘I love you.’” Interested readers are encouraged to find out how they can help a child who is deaf or hard of hearing to listen and talk by contacting AG Bell.
“This ad conveys a simple—but emotionally powerful—message by highlighting the abilities of children who are deaf and hard of hearing today to listen and talk in everyday interactions,” said AG Bell president Meredith Sugar. “It goes a long way in dispelling the myths that continue to persist in the minds of the public and the media. I hope that the AG Bell community will join us in raising awareness by sharing the advertisement and this message through their personal and social networks.”
Lisa Cantwell, who is pictured with her son Billy in the advertisement, said that she was “excited to be able to spread the word on just how much success a child with hearing loss can have with early intervention, involved parents and cochlear implants or hearing aids.” Billy, now 8 years old, was identified with hearing loss through newborn hearing screening, received cochlear implants at 11 months and 13 months of age. He had early intervention services through the Florida Early Steps Program in Brevard County, is now 8 years old and is now on par with his speech and language skills.

Raising Awareness about Newborn Hearing Screening

The editorial supplement also includes an article by Ted Meyer, M.D., Ph.D., AG Bell president-elect who is an associate professor otolaryngology – head and neck surgery at the Medical University of South Carolina and director of the Cochlear Implant Program. Meyer guides the public through the process of newborn screening and early intervention in an article that outlines the first days and first steps for families of children with hearing loss, explaining the process of newborn hearing screening and the need for prompt follow-up audiological care if a child does not pass a hospital-based screening test.
The article highlights professionals that can guide families through the process of diagnosis, notes hearing technologies that are available for children, and encourages parents to be active in the decision-making process in choosing a communication outcome for their child.
The MediaPlanet Hearing and Vision campaign will help AG Bell reach millions of readers with the message of hope and optimism. “It is critical to increase public awareness about the tremendous potential and opportunities for children who are born deaf or hard of hearing today,” Meyer said. “With early identification and appropriate intervention, children are achieving tremendous outcomes. They are able to develop language abilities on par with their peers by the time they enter school. For these children, the possibilities are endless.”
The supplement highlights the achievements of individuals who are deaf and hard of hearing through a feature on Lance Allred, the first player in the history of the National Basketball Association (NBA) who is legally deaf with a severe hearing loss. He made his pro debut in 2008 with the Cleveland Cavaliers and he has extended his career beyond the NBA to play internationally with teams in New Zealand, Mexico and Italy. He is an inspiration to young sports enthusiasts through his critically acclaimed book, Longshot: The Adventures of A Deaf Fundamentalist Mormon Kid and His Journey to the NBA (Harper Collins, 2009). 

USA Today final ad
Pictured: Lisa Cantwell and her son Billy
Designer: Kathleen Carbonetti, White Pencil Studio
Photographer: Craig Huey Photography 

Download and share the AG Bell advertisement through your own social media networks to raise awareness about the opportunities and abilities of children who are deaf and hard of hearing. Check out the MediaPlanet Vision and Hearing Health digital campaign.