Alecia Dimar 0000-00-00 00:00:00
Ruby Thompson of Moberly, Missouri, and Emma Iverson of Sioux Falls, South Dakota, have a lot in common. Both women are more than 100 years old and both have received hearing aids on behalf of the Lions Affordable Hearing Aid Project (Lions AHAP), a program of Lions Clubs International Foundation (LCIF). Lions AHAP assists the old and the young alike, as Albert Holt of the Rolla Lions Club of Salem, Missouri, can attest. He recently shared a story about a girl named Brittany with a severe hearing problem. “She was in the first grade. The school informed the mother that she would be promoted, but she would be placed in the special needs section due to her inability to hear. The mother, who was in tears, came to the Rolla Lions Club and requested assistance. The family was well within the income level set by the National Board for assistance. Shortly after getting her hearing aids, Brittany showed a marked increase in her grades. She has progressed very well in her school work and is now in the 5th grade, still getting As. The ear molds (due to natural physical growth) have been replaced and the aids adjusted as necessary.” “The Lions Affordable Hearing Aid Project enables Lions to help people suffering from hearing impairments in their local communities,” said Al Brandel, LCIF Chairperson. “Without the LCIF- based program, thousands of people in the U.S. would be dealing with their hearing loss unassisted.” A 2008 survey found that 35 million Americans, or more than 11 percent of the U.S. population, are hearing impaired. Of those 35 million, 25 million do not have hearing aids. This is in large part due to the high costs of hearing aids, which average around $2,000. Yet through Lions AHAP, LCIF and Lions are providing high quality hearing aids to low-income people. Supporting hearing-impaired populations was first urged by Helen Keller in 1925 and remains a primary commitment of Lions and LCIF. In 2005, Lions averaged $1.8 million in donations, collected more than 25,000 hearing aids and volunteered 91,200 hours to hearing-related service projects. LCIF partners with Rexton, Inc., a subsidiary of the Siemens company, to provide two digital hearing aids for low-income individuals through Lions hearing programs and Lions clubs. The hearing aids are not offered directly to individuals from LCIF; instead, clubs screen those in need and assist those who meet the criteria. Reviews from hearing care professionals have been very positive about the price, durability and quality. “The program is easy to use,” said Lion Robert Simmons of the Windham, Maine, Lions Club. “It has a step-by-step process that makes it simple, and LCIF is there by phone and e-mail.” Currently, Lions AHAP is a pilot program available only in the United States. Lions clubs collaborate with audiologists and hearing aid dispensers. Clubs then order hearing aids from LCIF, which are shipped to the hearing care professional for distribution to the recipients. Lions AHAP determines eligibility for aids by income level. The federal government’s poverty guidelines provide a framework for the club’s determination. The lives of many people with hearing loss have been improved through Lions AHAP. Yet millions of people with hearing impairments are still in need of hearing aids. By supporting LCIF, you support Lions’ continued commitment to serve those with hearing impairments.
Published by International Association of Lions Clubs . View All Articles.
This page can be found at http://digital.lionmagazine.org/article/Foundation+Impact/342914/33670/article.html.