Hearing aids, despite their miniature sizing, are a technological masterpiece. With the use of the latest technological advances, these devices can deliver sound to people who have been lacking clarity or amplification, allowing them to experience a whole new world of sounds and socialisation.
As a high tech item, they are similar to the latest smartphones, with people eager to upgrade when new or certain models come out or their hearing loss has progressed and the aid is no longer powerful enough. This has left many unwanted or old hearing aids sitting in dressing room drawers or in old shoeboxes full of other previously loved items.
Now they have the opportunity to relive their former glory through the Lions Hearing Clinic and Lions Hearing Foundations joint initiative called the Lions Hearing Aid Bank. The bank aims to collect devices and restore them for distribution in countries where they would still be seen as high tech devices and given to those in desperate need of a hearing aid.
Given the Lions Hearing Clinics are part of Ear Science Institute Australia, a not-for-profit organisation, this goes to the heart of what they do; caring for those with hearing loss in the community.
Even though that community may be many, many kilometres away.
To date, the Lions Hearing Aid Bank has delivered thousands of devices to people in need in developing countries such as the Philippines, Indonesia and Kenya.
Ear Science Institute Australia’s CEO Sandra Bellekom says “Through this one very practical programme the Lions Hearing Aid Bank is helping many children (and families) access hearing aids that would not have been available otherwise and allowing them to hear in class and gain an education”.
“Hearing loss often results in people becoming isolated and less likely to interact with family and friends causing social divides,” said Ms Bellekom. “With the support of Lions, our Lions Hearing Clinics and the Lions Hearing Aid Bank program we are helping to address these issues and making a real difference in the lives of thousands of people”.
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), some 360 million people globally are affected by a ‘disabling hearing loss’ – meaning everyday sounds, like traffic sounds while driving, and general conversational speech, cannot be clearly heard.
Ear Science Institute Australia also helps people closer to home through their many Lions Hearing Clinic locations, and various community and research initiatives aimed at providing an improved level of care for those with hearing loss. They provide free hearing screenings through the Lions Hearing Foundation Bus, educate up-and-coming medical professionals on the importance of hearing and also have a charitable arm called the Gift of Hearing Appeal to support their research into hearing loss on the molecular and cellular level.
If you would like to support the Lions Hearing Aid Bank, please donate your old hearing aids to your local Lions Hearing Clinic.