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2020 Focus on
People Awards

Adult category

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Matt Deller

Sun City, AZ

Matt is the founding director of Sounds of the Southwest Singers, an internationally acclaimed non-profit all-volunteer community choir open to anyone who loves to sing. A conductor with perfect pitch, Matt has led his talented singers to concert halls in the U.S. and abroad, determined to make a difference musically wherever their talents take them. Matt has another notable characteristic for a conductor. He has profound hearing loss. His role as ambassador of music allows Matt to deliver another important message to audiences around the world – this one about people with hearing loss and the contributions they can make, even in fields as aurally demanding as music.

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Matt Hay

Westfield, IN

Matt shared his 25-year hearing loss journey with millions on a National Public Radio podcast titled Soundtrack of Silence. The intimate, funny and authentic segment inspired actor Channing Tatum and Paramount to option film rights to Matt’s story. Matt, bilaterally deaf with an auditory brain stem implant, passionately supports the hearing loss community as a consultant at St. Joseph Institute for the Deaf and member of the Columbia University Genetic Counseling Advisory Board. He’s proudly lobbied Congress for neurofibromatosis (NF) research funding and has personally raised more than $100,000 for NF research by doing endurance events, including an Ironman Triathlon. Matt currently leads sales and marketing at Redux where his work enhances hearing instrument performance.

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Narita Snead

Richmond, VA

Diagnosed with hearing loss as a child, Narita feared that wearing hearing aids would impede her ability to lead a full and successful life. It is a tale she compassionately tells in her recently published children’s book, Zola Gets Hearing Aids. Today, the achievements of that worried little girl are a testimony to what people with hearing loss can achieve even under the most adverse circumstances. Narita is a respected nurse practitioner with advanced degrees in public health administration and owns and operates an independent healthcare service and hospice agency. She is also the founder of Sodality Respite Inc., a nonprofit that provides hospice care to homeless individuals.

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