2023 Oticon Focus
on People Awards

The Oticon Focus on People Awards recognize outstanding people who are helping to show that hearing loss does not limit a person’s ability to make a positive difference in their families, communities, or the world.


Life-changing technology opens a world of possibilities for people with hearing loss. The Oticon Focus on People Awards honor the remarkable individuals who have turned those possibilities into realities to make the world a better place for all of us. This one-of-a-kind national awards competition has honored more than 300 outstanding people with hearing loss from across the US.

Votes were cast across to the country to determine this year’s winners and on February 24, we celebrated their achievements and contributions at a special Awards ceremony.

Meet our 2023 Oticon Focus on People Award Winners



Congratulations to all the winners!


Student Standout - 1st Place

Yaduraj Choudhary
Downingtown, PA

Yaduraj, a first-year student at the University of Pennsylvania, is the founder/president of 3 Tiny Bones, a student-led nonprofit focused on destigmatizing hearing loss and educating communities on healthy hearing. 3 Tiny Bones is helping Yaduraj achieve his goal to bring hearing loss education into the mainstream and prevent hearing loss in youth and future generations. He has partnered with his local school district to create Safe Hearing Zones at elementary, middle and high schools to educate students about hearing health.

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  • 2nd Place

    Ryan Fuller
    Eureka, IL

  • 3rd Place

    Alana Douglas
    Denton, TX


Adult Trailblazer - 1st Place

Abby Silbaugh
Chicago, IL

Abby believes that her hearing loss gives her insight into the unique needs of people who need the specialized care and advances in technology that she continues to work on in the extremely selective PhD program in Neurobiology at the University of Chicago. Beyond her demanding academic schedule, Abby spends hundreds of hours each year tutoring Chicago’s inner-city children receiving long-term care in area hospitals. She also volunteers in the UChicago ENT and Neurosurgery departments doing clinical work and in the “Disability and Inclusion @ UChicago” initiative.

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  • 2nd Place

    Zaineb Abdulla
    Chicago, IL

  • 3rd Place

    Kathleen Dugan
    Lunenburg, MA


Hearing Loss Champion - 1st Place

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 HLAA, New Jersey Chapter and a paralegal for the Center for Social Justice at Seton Hall University. She is the author of two 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.

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  • 2nd Place

    Emily Truell
    Montello, WI

  • 3rd Place

    Brett Bachmann
    Louisville, KY


Heroic Hearing Care Professional - 1st Place

Michelle Hu, AuD
La Jolla, CA

Dr. Michelle Hu is a pediatric audiologist committed to empowering families and their children to feel confident in making the best choices based upon their unique dynamic and circumstances. She is a mother of three, a military spouse and the creator of @Mama.Hu.Hears, an Instagram and Facebook account where she shares personal glimpses into her own hearing loss journey. Through Mama Hu Hears, she creates a community that supports each other, spreads awareness, brings about amazing conversations and inspires friendships.

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  • 2nd Place

    Chandace Jeep, AuD
    Durango, CO

  • 3rd Place

    Roni Dinkes, AuD
    Millersville, MD



Winners in each of the four categories will receive prizes and national recognition that creates awareness and helps to open doors of opportunity for all people with hearing loss.

1st place winners  in Student, Adult and Champion categories
Receive $2,500 cash prize, $1,000 donation to a charity of their choice and a pair of Oticon hearing aids with BrainHearing™ technology

1st place winner in Hearing Care Practitioner
Receive $2,500 cash prize and $1,000 to a charity of their choice

2nd place winners
Receive $500 cash prize

3rd place winners
Receive $250 cash prize

All nominees receive a Certificate of Recognition

Rules & Regulations