The month of April is always a special time for showing appreciation to our Cochlear™ volunteers and celebrating all they do year-round to help others along their journey to better hearing. With everyone social distancing, we did not let that dampen our efforts to acknowledge our volunteers during this year’s National Volunteer Month. This also did not lessen the excitement “in the moment” when Cochlear volunteer, Jennifer from St. Louis, Missouri, learned she was the 2019 Cochlear Volunteer Hear-O of the Year award winner.



“This year’s recognition may be different, but it was such a surprise! My husband was trying to pry me away from my work laptop (I am a special education teacher) and I was very resistant. He told me I had to go outside. I didn’t understand why. When I went out there, I was dumbstruck, I had no idea what to do and say, and was completely blown away. I got a parade of wonderful people from the local Cochlear team and other Cochlear volunteers. They had decorated their cars and were cheering for me. I wanted to run to them and give hugs, but we had to settle for virtual hugs. It was wonderful. They even had the news media there taking video of me. I remember being grateful I had on clothes and not pajamas!” laughed Jennifer.

Hear-O of the YearEngagement Manager Sara Chinnock said Jennifer is always available to help at local Community Chapter meetings.  She spends time helping individuals learn how to use their wireless accessories and will offer others device support and help troubleshoot any issues they may be experiencing.

“When I ask Jennifer to chat with a new recipient or candidate about a specific topic, she always does a fantastic job of answering questions making sure they understand things and will provide them with her contact information so they can reach out to her later with other questions or just to stay in contact. Her journey has inspired others to get evaluated and take the next step in becoming a cochlear implant recipient,” Sara said.

A world of possibilities

Jennifer says when speaking to others considering a cochlear implant, she tries to convey that “the possibilities are endless. I feel like I’ve been given my life back.”  Jennifer wears Nucleus® 7 Sound Processors and is a bilateral recipient.  

When asked if she had a favorite wireless accessory for her Nucleus® 7 Sound Processors, Jennifer  replied, “my favorite accessory is definitely my Cochlear™ True Wireless TV Streamer. I LOVE it!  I can hear what is being said and understand it without closed captioning. I don’t watch the news anymore. I hear the news while I am doing something else.”

And hearing underwater with my Aqua+* is absolutely mind-boggling. “I’ve only used it a few times, but I am in love. I’ve never been able to hear when swimming, but last summer I got to hear the warning sound of the wave pool, I heard the whistle of the lifeguards, I heard the people talking around me. I even got to talk to people while in line waiting for the lazy river! No more leaving my hearing aids in a locker and relying on others to guide me in the pool.”

Hear-O of the Year
Local Cochlear staff and volunteers surprised Jennifer with the news that she was chosen as the 2019 Cochlear Hear-O of the Year!

Community Hear-O winners announced

At Cochlear Americas, we take great pleasure in recognizing our volunteers’ efforts and this year is no different. In addition to the national Hear-O of the Year award, twenty-two volunteers were selected for a 2019 Cochlear Community Hear-O award. One Community Hear-O winner is chosen from each Engagement Manager’s territory. The winners are selected based on their contributions to Cochlear’s community outreach and engagement efforts in that area.


Congratulations to the 2019 Cochlear Community Hear-O Winners on your well-deserved award!



Lamar — Natalia, TX

Melanie –  Phoenix, AZ

Vanessa – Tampa, FL

Scott and Robin – Columbia, SC

Cathy – Westfield, PA

Kristin – Leesburg, VA

Jennifer – Saint Louis, MO





David –Temecula, CA

Robin – Alpharetta, GA

Thomas “Kent” – Coppell, TX

Nancy – Saint Paul, MN

Paul – New Iberia, LA

Marilyn – Rochester, MI

Wayne – Kingston, Ontario

Mike – Saint Charles, IL



Gary and Carol – Sacramento, CA

Rick – Delaware, OH

Jess – Winchester, KY

Wynn – Meridian, ID

Guy – East Greenbush, NY

Leonard – Halesite, NY

Kathy – Midvale, UT

To all Cochlear volunteers across the United States and Canada, thank you for the tremendous care and support you give to others as they navigate through their own hearing journey – taking the necessary steps toward better hearing.

May is Better Hearing and Speech Month. Are you looking for ways to volunteer in your community by spreading awareness on hearing loss?  Visit and encourage others to take the hearing quiz and learn how they can take charge of their hearing health.


Nancy Klein
Nancy Klein is the Cause Marketing Manager for Cochlear Americas. She is responsible for managing Cochlear's philanthropic relationships and campaigns that enhance awareness and contribute to the greater good. With a background in non-profit development, Nancy continues to be inspired by the life-changing nature of her work with Cochlear.