Picture this: a Medicaid patient comes for an auditory evaluation and is found to have a severe sensorineural hearing loss and excellent word recognition bilaterally. Despite being a great candidate for amplification, the patient has a fixed budget of $500 a month and little flex in their savings. What do you do?
For those who cannot afford amplification, there are few available resources. In a nation where insurance coverage for amplification is often unavailable or inadequate, alternative options must exist for those whose economic restraints prohibit access to hearing healthcare. Thankfully, we have hearing aid banks for these scenarios. In this way, hearing aid donation banks are the last bastion of amplification options for those in need. Though clinicians and patients alike are glad these banks exist, it is important that we show our thanks.
Don’t have a hearing aid to donate? That’s okay.
While it is true that used hearing aids are the bread-and-butter of these organizations, there are many other ways to show your support.
(1) Educate Hearing Aid Users – Educate hearing aid users about these banks and encourage them to donate their unused amplification. Thousands of usable hearing aids are sitting in drawers around the country; these hearing aids could be helping someone in need. For those who are hesitant to donate hearing aids that they deem too old or dirty, clarify the requirements and encourage their donation.
(2) Establish a Collection Center – Contact local sites in your community and ask if they would consider adding a hearing aid collection center. Some great locations for collection centers are audiology offices, places of worship, grocery stores, retirement homes, funeral homes, hospice programs, and community venues (library, community center, etc.).
(3) Spread the Word – Share the message and encourage others to support their local donation banks.
(4) Make a Donation – Cash donations are accepted at most of the major donation banks and help with the costly overhead expenses to pay staff and refurbish hearing aids.
(5) Start a Fundraising Campaign – Start a fundraising campaign to encourage others to donate to local hearing aid banks.
Information for Hearing Aid Collection Banks:
- The National Hearing Aid Project
- Lions Club Hearing Aid Recycling
- Hearing Loss Association of America
- Starkey Hearing Aid Recycling
- Oticon Hearing Aid Recycling
Many states and regions have their own banks, simply searching “Hearing aid donation Idaho” will show you organizations in Idaho. Try it yourself!
William Stoll is a third-year AuD student at Montclair State University in Montclair, NJ. He is currently the NJ State SAA State Ambassador. His interests include hearing aid donation, electrophysiology, and cochlear implantation.
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