Program provides gift of hearing

A program funded by the United Way of the CSRA provides hearing aids to people who cannot afford them.

Tom Schroder holds a box of old hearing aids that will be rebuilt and given to the needy.  Charmain Z. Brackett/Correspondent
Charmain Z. Brackett/Correspondent
Tom Schroder holds a box of old hearing aids that will be rebuilt and given to the needy.

"Some of the neatest stories we get, besides the children we help, are the adults who come in and get hearing aids," Rosanne Grubbs, the executive director of University Health Care System's Speech and Hearing Center, said about the Donor Hearing Aid Program.

Many of them are overjoyed that they can hear the Braves on the radio for the first time in years.

"They all appreciate it," she said.

The program has been around since 1991, when Medicaid dropped hearing aid coverage. Since then, about 2,000 adults have received a better quality of life through it, she said.

Sometimes, doctors refer patients to the center for a hearing aid. Qualification is based on financial need, and patients pay on a sliding scale.

The patient has a hearing test on site, and a mold of the ear is taken to ensure a proper fit. The patient is matched with a hearing aid, which is then sent to Florida to be refurbished for use, according to audiologist Tom Schroder.

Ms. Grubbs said the center could use additional hearing aid donations.

"We go through periods when our bank of hearing aids gets low," she said. "People probably have unused hearing aids in dresser drawers. A lot of people in the community don't know about this program."

Donations can be dropped off at the Augusta or Evans location. The Speech and Hearing Center in Augusta is at 1430 Harper St., Suite C-3. The phone number is (706) 774-8666. In Evans, the center is at 4321 University Parkway, Suite 102; that number is (706) 854-2630.

Reach Charmain Brackett at czbrackett@hotmail.com.


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