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July 21. 2013 5:50PM

Nashua police officer honored for attitude about hearing loss

NASHUA — Determined to accept his hearing loss with a positive attitude, a city police sergeant was recently recognized for his inspiration and courage in the face of adversity.

Sgt. Joseph Molinari of the Nashua Police Department, who was previously named one of 12 finalists in the running for the Oticon Focus on People Awards, recently took home the first place honor in the adult category.

"This veteran police officer is determined to show that addressing his hearing loss strengthens his ability to serve the community and his fellow officers," says a posting on Oticon's website announcing the first place winners. "His renewed confidence on the job and willingness to stand up to hearing loss is already changing perceptions."

Molinari, 47, first experienced hearing complications about 10 years ago, worrying that the problem could impact his law enforcement career. After seeking advice from multiple experts and trying various hearing aid devices, Molinari finally found earbuds that have enabled him to continue working.

The Oticon Focus on People Awards is a national program that honors hearing impaired students, adults and advocacy volunteers who have demonstrated through their accomplishments that hearing loss does not limit a person's ability, according to a release.

"By empowering people to add their voices to selection of the winners, we aim to expand awareness of the program and its mission, and inspire people with the remarkable stories of our finalists," Oticon President Peer Lauritsen said in a release posted on Oticon's website. "Our goal is to show that hearing loss does not limit a person's ability to achieve and contribute to their families, their communities and the world, and to motivate people to seek professional care to address their own hearing health."

Molinari, who has worked for the city police force since 1994, said previously that his hearing devices made an immediate difference, as he was soon able to hear a passing motorist yell to him across heavy traffic. The screams, he said, alerted him to a motor vehicle accident with an injured and unresponsive driver that Molinari was eventually able to revive.

Molinari said earlier that he has experimented with many ear pieces before finding what works for him, explaining people in his situation often get frustrated with the process, the doctors and equipment.

He credits a new audiologist in Lawrence, Mass., for helping him overcome his reservations and fears about his hearing loss. Now, Molinari is embracing his hearing impairment and empowering local children to do the same.

The police sergeant has helped coach youth lacrosse and basketball, where one of his players also uses hearing instruments.

As part of his first place award, Molinari received a $1,000 cash prize and a $1,000 donation to a non-profit organization of his choice.

"The remarkable people who are honored in this year's Oticon Focus on People Awards have taken their unique circumstances and transformed their lives with a positive outlook that has enabled them to overcome challenges and accomplish goals well beyond what many thought possible," Lauritsen said in a statement.

khoughton@newstote.com


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