Hearing aids distributed in exchange for volunteer hours

Hearing aids distributed in exchange for volunteer hours

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - As people age, one of the things that changes is their hearing. Now, thanks to a new program being offered in WAVE Country, some people who need hearing aids but can't afford them can get them.

The project is called Listen Up! It's a partnership between Heuser Hearing Institute and Delta Dental Kentucky, which is funding the project.

The project is for retirees who need hearing aids but have no insurance benefits for them. To get the hearing aids, they must volunteer for 200 hours at a participating non-profit, and then volunteer for 50 hours annually to compensate for the annual upkeep of hearing aids.

One of the first participants is Rosie Lee Brown, who was born and raised in Old Louisville. For the past 12 years she's volunteered with the Early
Childhood Development Center at the Jefferson Community and Technical College, but she couldn't always hear what the kids were saying.

"With the children with me trying to help them, I can't give them Ps and Qs if I'm not on mine," Brown said.

Her insurance didn't cover the cost of hearing aids. And Brown said she couldn't afford the $7,000 she was quoted to get them.

"I didn't have 7 cents, much less $7,000," Brown said.

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Audiologist Angie Beach, from Heuser Hearing Institute, said Brown's hearing loss meant that she likely lost much of the meaning of conversations.

"She's having to expend a lot of energy watching the face and trying to block out other things," Beach said.

"I said, 'What?' and 'Huh," Brown said.

Now, thanks to the Listen Up! Project, Brown has hearing aids and can hear the children again.

"They get the hearing aids while volunteering, so it gives them incentive to get out while volunteering and be part of the community and experience hearing the world all over again," Heuser Hearing Institute CEO Brett Bachmann said.

Added Brown: "I have missed so much. And I didn't realize how much I really was missing."

Click here for more information on the Listen Up! Project.

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