2023 Focus on
People Awards

Hearing loss champions


Brett Bachmann

Louisville, KY

As the CEO of the non‑profit Heuser Hearing Institute, Brett is a passionate advocate for patient‑centered care in the press, on industry panels, with the legislature in his home state of Kentucky, and with lawmakers in Washington D.C. Throughout his career, he has worked tirelessly to develop and implement programs that create lasting change, including a partnership with the Family Health Network that has significantly increased the number of low‑income patients receiving free hearing care and hearing aids. Dedicated to making communities more diverse, inclusive, and better places to live, work, and learn, he has spearheaded programs that address educational disparities, especially focused on the welfare of children with hearing loss and others who are marginalized.


Latisha Porter‑Vaughn

Newark, NJ

Described as a “dynamite advocate and inspiration for people with hearing loss,” Latisha is the first African American President of the Hearing Loss Association of America, New Jersey Chapter and a paralegal for the Center for Social Justice at Seton Hall University. She is also the author of How We Hear: A Useful Guide for the Hearing to Understand Hearing Loss and A Story of a HearStrong Champion Persisting Against All Odds, books that provide guidance and inspiration to people with hearing loss and their families. As a researcher for the National Deaf Center on Postsecondary Outcomes, Latisha contributed to literature that will help improve education and employment outcomes for students who are deaf or hard‑of‑hearing.


Emily Truell

Montello, WI

Emily experienced singled‑sided deafness as a result of a brain tumor at age 27. Following successful surgery, she was determined to pay it forward and support other brain tumor warriors on their journey. Her first step was as a volunteer with the Acoustic Neuroma Association in a variety of capabilities including support group leader and peer mentor. She soon recognized how the barriers caused by cultural stigmas associated with hearing loss created unique challenges and was determined to change the narrative around hearing loss and hearing technology. Today, her popular blog,, is a welcoming place to support, encourage and share resources, where people with hearing loss can feel seen, empowered and hopeful.

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