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Producer Austin Chapman Reaches Millions with Inspiring Story on Hearing Loss; Launches Contest in Partnership with Phonak

WARRENVILLE, Ill., Dec. 11, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Movie producer Austin Chapman was born profoundly deaf, but in August 2012, Chapman was fitted with a Phonak hearing aid that allowed him to clearly hear and understand music for the first time in his life. This experience inspired Chapman to partner with Phonak to seek out others to tell similar stories about their own life-changing experience that came with hearing – for the first time or again. The winning story will be produced into a short film by Chapman.

Beginning December 11, interested people can go to to complete their story entries. In addition to the produced short film, the winner will receive a $25,000 prize from Phonak. The winner will be announced in February and the winning video will be featured on and

"I am only 23, but the hearing technology that has progressed over my lifetime has given me the opportunity to hear music for the first time, which I am forever grateful for," said Chapman. "I was deeply affected by the support and encouragement of complete strangers when I shared my story online, and received more than 14,000 comments. I know there are others out there with similar experiences, and I am excited to create a short film and continue to share this inspiration."

More than 38 million people in the U.S. are affected by some degree of hearing loss, and only 35 percent are above the age of 64. In fact, there are close to six million people in the U.S. between the ages of 18 and 44 with hearing loss. In short, hearing loss affects people of all age groups, including:

  • 3 in 10 people over age 60
  • 1 in 6 baby boomers (ages 41-59)
  • 1 in 14 Generation Xers (ages 29-40)
  • At least 1.4 million children (18 or younger)
  • An estimated 3 in 1,000 infants

Austin was diagnosed with severe hearing loss at 9-months-old, but it wasn't until recently that he decided to give the new hearing aids a try. "My parents encouraged me to meet with my audiologist and test out the new hearing aids on the market. I went into the doctor's office to demo two different hearing aids and wasn't expecting to experience a significant change in my ability to hear. I couldn't have been more wrong," added Chapman. In Austin's case, it was a Phonak Naida S IX UP that allowed him to hear music for the very first time.

"Austin's story is wonderful on its own, but his passion to celebrate others' stories through film is truly commendable," said Phonak USA President Jeff Newnham. "There are many moving and encouraging stories out there about people whose lives completely changed as a result of gaining the ability to hear. We're delighted to join Austin in his commitment to shine a light on some of these profound stories. Our primary hope is that they motivate even more people to seek a hearing solution for themselves."

For more information and contest rules, visit and

About Phonak
Headquartered near Zurich, Switzerland, Phonak, a member of Sonova Group, has developed, produced and globally distributed state-of-the-art hearing systems and wireless devices for more than 60 years. The combination of expertise in hearing technology, mastery in acoustics and strong cooperation with hearing care professionals allows Phonak to significantly improve people's hearing ability and speech understanding and therefore their quality of life.

Phonak offers a complete range of digital hearing instruments, along with complementary wireless communication systems. With a worldwide presence, Phonak drives innovation and sets new industry benchmarks regarding miniaturization and performance.

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