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Help Me Hear Music

"Blindness cuts you off from things. Deafness cuts you off from people"
- Helen Keller

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Please donate to Massachusetts General Hospital and ask that the funds be earmarked for Dr. Zheng-Yi Chen's research into a cure for deafness.

For most of my life I took hearing for granted. It was one of the five senses we're all supposed to have - and I had it. Then, one of my sons was diagnosed as being progressively hard of hearing. Suddenly, I became aware of how difficult it can be when someone's participation in life is limited because they are surrounded by a world of sound that they are unable to comprehend.

Interestingly enough, my son decided he didn't want to be deaf. When I tried to use sign language he would grab my face with his little toddler hands and say, "Mommy talk!" But the thing that made him really remarkable was his love of music. By the time his hearing loss leveled off in the category of "profoundly deaf," he had taught himself to play the keyboard and started composing music. Nobody ever told him to practice and - because another disability prevents him from reading music - he's never had piano lessons. He turned to music because it is a source of joy for him.

It's difficult to know how many people around the world are deaf or hard of hearing. The most reliable statistics indicate that approximately 8-10% of the population experiences permanent hearing impairment at some level. Today, there are limited options available to them: hearing aids, cochlear implants, sign language with the small percentage of people who know American Sign Language (ASL) or passive acquiescence to being cut off from the people - and the music - around them. Soon, however, there could be a treatment that will restore hearing when that is the desired option.

Please join me in supporting the research that is being done by Dr. Zheng-Yi Chen of Harvard Medical School. Working with a team of researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital, Dr. Chen has "identified a gene that prevents the regeneration of inner ear cells that are critical to hearing, a discovery experts say is the first step toward finding a way to correct the most common form of deafness."

If you would like to make a direct donation to Dr. Chen's team, please contact:

Heather P. Colmore
Senior Major Gifts Officer
Development Office
Massachusetts General Hospital
165 Cambridge Street, Suite 600
Boston, MA 02114
Phone: 617-724-6407
Fax: 617-726-7661

To make a donation online, click here


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