Hearing Health Foundation's mission is to prevent and cure hearing loss and tinnitus through groundbreaking research and to promote hearing health.
We lived in NYC when we noticed something amiss about our daughter Karyn. She was 2. Her older brother, Joe, was jumping around and doing everything. By contrast, Karyn just didn’t seem to be listening to us.
Karyn is profoundly deaf in both ears. We started speech therapy and—remarkably for back in the 1970s—she was mainstreamed into a Lutheran school where she was taught spoken English.
When we moved to California, we connected with Elizabeth (Betsy) Keithley, Ph.D., now a professor emeritus at the University of California San Diego and the former chair of HHF’s board of directors.
By the time Karyn reached high school, her speech was completely typical, and people would say they never could have imagined that she is deaf. She speaks well, and clearly. She does wear one hearing aid, which she started wearing to help with tinnitus she developed in her late teens.
We set up our family living trust in 1988, and originally designated our children as beneficiaries. Then our son Joe passed away at age 41, from complications from viral pneumonia, and that terribly sad event plus the experience of Karyn growing up with a hearing loss made us realize we wanted to make a difference in other people’s lives.
Our decades-long friendship with Betsy—who became involved with HHF more than 20 years ago, reviewing grants—also helped cement the deal for us to designate HHF as one of the main beneficiaries of our trust. We support HHF because we believe it offers the most practical approach to dealing with hearing-related issues and the best research opportunities to eventually find cures for hearing loss and tinnitus.
Chris & Frank DeFrancesco