My Experience by: DeAnne Pacheco, TeleHear Clinical Director
I had the honor of serving in a Starkey Hearing Foundation mission with the most amazingly dedicated, hard-working people. We completed four mission days in three cities: Santa Cruz, Bolivia; Cusco, Peru and Trujillo, Peru, where we fit nearly 2000 children and adults with hearing aids. I was first struck by the grand scale of the operation but more amazed of how well-executed every step was performed. I was part of Phase 2 where we, as volunteers, go into the mission location with Tani Austin, Starkey’s Chief Philanthropy Officer, and her team to fit our patients with their hearing aids and custom molds. Patients are also provided with batteries, counseled on how to properly use and care for their devices and what to expect in Phase 3.
This has been so much more than a service opportunity — it was a gift to me that I will treasure forever and one that has impacted my life in the most meaningful way. My heart has never been so full of love and joy. I left Bolivia and Peru with a sense of true accomplishment, satisfaction and happiness. I’m addicted and can’t wait to serve again!
We started with a huddle every morning before our long days led by our tireless leader, Tani. I feel privileged to work beside her and learn from such a strong and dedicated woman. I honor what she kept reminding us: we will look our patient in the eyes and show them the respect, care and love they deserve as human beings. She emphasized that this global mission is NOT about “us” and that we are the least important people there. Our patients are the most important people and the reason why we are there. Words were never so true. We are here to give and to serve, the highest calling.
I’ll never forget the smiles on the children’s faces when they heard their own voice, the tears of a mother when her own child heard her voice and the young lady who now has a better future ahead of her because she can hear. That young lady can now participate in and contribute to her community. It’s a brilliant circle of love. The more we give, the more is given in return. God bless the elderly women and men who came to see us dressed in their Sunday best. They came sporting their shined shoes, distinctive hats and the brightest smiles. They were proud to be there and showed us the most gratitude and grace I’ve received. They thanked us over and over as though we were giving them the greatest gift, but little did they know that they gave me back something far greater. My heart was never bursting with so much love, honor and gratitude for being able to be used as a vehicle to spread hope, love and the gift of hearing.
Visit Starkey Hearing Foundation for more information on the hearing aid missions. Follow #hearingaidmissions on social media for more photos and videos.
This past holiday season, children filled out their Christmas lists to send to Santa. Hoverboards and video games topped the lists of many. However, for one special 7-year old in Deerfield Beach, Florida, all she wanted was the gift of better hearing.
Every year, the Starkey HearCare network of hearing care providers holds a special holiday contest. We give the gift of hearing to someone in need of hearing help. We ask that the loved ones, friends and family members of the person who is in need, to write Santa a letter and explain why the gift of hearing should be given to the person in need. Each year we receive submissions from across the United States. This year we received hundreds of requests from the loved ones of those in need.
As you can probably imagine, it is not easy narrowing down hundreds of submissions to just one. In an effort to help all with their hearing loss, we offer a buy one get one free deal to everyone who had a submission. This is a savings of over $2,000!
Each submission is read by a panel at Starkey HearCare. We read every single letter that comes into our mailbox. These letters are touching and moving. This year, one submission stood out.
Kaitlyn Newland was born with a hearing loss. She has needed hearing aids since birth to hear and speak. Her hearing loss has affected her everyday life. According to a submission from her school, Trinity Christian School, “Kaitlyn is struggling in class and at home with ordinary tasks, and would greatly benefit from positive interactions and experiences in her young life.” Several other letters indicated that Kaitlyn’s hearing loss has effected her learning that she has fell so far behind in school that she faced the possibility of being held back.
Kaitlyn has a twin sister. We know how close twins are in life. Kaitlyn had been separated from certain parts of her life due to her hearing loss, we did not want her to be separated from her twin sister in school as well.
Submissions received for Kaitlyn Newland
We received four submissions from her school, aunt, grandmother and family friend urging us to choose Kaitlyn for the gift of better hearing. With her whole life ahead of her and the opportunity to live it to it’s fullest present, we choose Kaitlyn Newland as the recipient of a brand new pair of Audibel A4 hearing aids.
This is the part of the story where one would think everything was going according to plan. We have a 7-year old little girl who struggles with hearing loss that lives just minutes away from our office in Deerfield Beach, FL. Shortly after contacting her family and letting them know the good news, we were informed that Kaitlyn and her family were moving north to Greenville, SC. What was once a 10 minute drive to our office now turned into a three hour trip and over 200 miles to our closest office in Rome, GA.
Not to be deterred, we worked with Kaitlyn’s mother, Christina, and the local office in Rome, GA (Audibel) to work with their schedule to get Kaitlyn the help she so desperately needed. Finally, after weeks of conversation and planning, we were able to visit with Kaitlyn in our Rome, GA office in March of 2017, three months after it was announced she was the winner. In an email from Katilyn’s mom Christina, she wrote “When we went to the hearing center in Rome, GA she was having a pretty bad day since we had to drive at 4:30 am to make the appointment but please know that she is over the moon about getting a new set of hearing aids.”
Christina, Katilyn’s mother, drove Kaitlyn the 200+ miles trip to Rome, GA for appointment number one. With both parties determined to find a solution that would greatly benefit Kaitlyn, a set of brand new Audibel A4 hearing aids were selected by the hearing care provider Charles Scoggins. Charles even customized the hearing aids for Kaitlyn to fit her exact ear canal.
Kaitlyn would have to make the 200 mile trip one more time to get her brand new custom hearing aids. Finally, in early April, Kaitlyn returned to our Rome, GA office to receive her hearing aids. The impact the hearing aids had on Kaitlyn’s life was instant. While she had hearing aids in the past, they were not as technologically advanced as the set she received from Starkey HearCare.
Christina wrote to us in an email after they received the hearing aids:
“The hearing aids have been such a blessing for Kaitlyn. She loves the hearing aids and loves he fact that she can turn them up or down whenever she needs it. They are amazing, the technology is unbelievable and it has completely changed her mood. She is so much more controlled, calm and social. She is not embarrassed to tell people she wears hearing aids anymore. I am overwhelmed with joy, and it brings tears to my eyes to see how different she is now and how this has impacted our lives. I can’t thank you enough for choosing her. Thanks again for caring and for helping Kaitlyn be a normal little girl. We will be forever grateful.”
It’s stories like Kaitlyn’s that drives our hearing care providers across the nation to help more people hear better. The impact that proper hearing can have on someone’s life is priceless. Kaitlyn will now be able to learn at the level she is capable of in her classes. She can experience life in a way she had not had before. She can converse with her twin sister about all things sisters love to talk about. Her mother, Christina, can smile knowing that Kaitlyn is no loner embarrassed about her hearing loss.
We want to extend a special thank you to Kaitlyn, her mother Christina, those who submitted submission’s on Kaitlyn’s behalf, her entire family who accompanied Kaitlyn to the appointment and our local staff in Rome, GA, Charles and Sharon Scoggins. Together, we all made an impact and a different in one little girls life.
Kaitlyn Newland with our hearing care provider Charles Scoggins and office manager Sharon Scoggins in Rome, GA
Katilyn’s first visit
Kaitlyn’s first visit
Custom impression being made for Kaitlyn’s ear canal
Fitting Katilyn with her new hearing aids
The most technologically advanced hearing aid Kaitlyn has ever had.
The Starkey Hearing Foundation celebrated their 16th annual So the World May Hear Awards Gala on July 17, 2016 in St.Paul, Minnesota. The event raised a record breaking amount for the Starkey Hearing Foundation and was a night to remember!
The evening celebrated the milestone of the opening of the Starkey Hearing Institute in Zambia, which is a school that equips students with academic rigor, resources and tools to advance in hearing health care services. Along with this exciting achievement, the Starkey Hearing Foundation is expanding it’s missions with more programs and services, specifically with the Foundation’s Hear Now program. The Hear Now program is planning to have a 15% increase in 2016 over 2015 to provide more hearing devices to those in need domestically.
This years honorees included Paula F. Goldberg, co-founder and executive director of PACER, a program and lifeline for parents of children and young adults with disabilities. Tony Blair, Prime Minister of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, who was honored for his philanthropic achievements in advancing the future of Africa and Jennifer Garner, award winning actress, who was honored for being an advocate for early childhood development and her commitment to this growth.
There were several special guests and performers who provided entertainment throughout the evening. This included Jay Leno, the Hollywood Vampires, featuring Alice Cooper and Johnny Depp, country duo Maddie and Tae, and both the Tenors and former American Idol winner Trent Harmon who serenaded the audience. The evening ended with a performance by John Mellencamp who closed out the event with a few crowd favorites. For more information on the Starkey Hearing Foundation, click here.
This past holiday season Starkey HearCare held their inaugural “Dear Santa” Holiday Contest. The goal of this contest was to be able to provide the gift of hearing to someone in need this holiday season, specifically, someone that did not have the means to purchase their own set of hearing instruments.
Starkey HearCare works closely with the Starkey Hearing Foundation, which gives hearing aids to those in need across our globe. The Starkey Hearing Foundation gives over 100,000 hearing aids to children and others suffering from hearing loss in 3rd world countries per year. Starkey HearCare wanted to do their part back home in America.
For more information on the Starkey Hearing Foundation please click here.
Over 20,000 individuals had the chance to apply. These were people who had previously visited an Starkey HearCare Network Clinic in the past and showed signs of hearing loss but never purchased.
The contest was designed to have a loved one, such as a family member, friend, or acquaintance, write to Starkey HearCare explaining why this individual should receive the gift of hearing. After reading through several touching submissions, Ms. Lynda Coats was selected as the winner!
Lynda’s two daughters and four grandchildren all participated in providing their input on why their mother and grandmother should receive the gift of hearing. Ms. Coats had previously had a hearing examination conducted and she was diagnosed with moderately to severe hearing loss. She is also losing her vision in both eyes. After reading the touching letters, Starkey HearCare decided she was the perfect candidate to receive the gift of hearing in order to engage in conversations with her family and friends again.
Since Lynda was out of Alabama, she met with Pattillo Balance and Hearing Center’s Fred Turner. Fred is a Hearing Instrument Specialist with over 15 years of experience in the hearing aid industry. Fred has helped thousands of people enjoy the gift of hearing and he was ecstatic to help Lynda on that same journey! The fitting was covered by the local TV station as well as the local newspaper. We want to thank Fred and Lynda’s family for helping us provide her the gift of hearing!
The availability of hearing health care and hearing aids is very scarce in the world. The Starkey Hearing Foundation provides hearing aids to people around the world in need. People from all different parts of the globe come together to help provide this special gift. Without this group, many of these people would be left in a world of silence and would struggle to communicate with family and friends.
This past October Andrew Roth, Hearing Instrument Specialist with Hear for You in Saratoga/Ballston Spa, NY, joined the Starkey Hearing Foundation on a hearing mission trip to Mexico. Roth and the Foundation started out in Tlaxcala, Mexico, and they fit 580 people with hearing aids on a Sunday. From Tlaxcala, Roth and the Starkey Hearing Foundation Team traveled to Toluca, Mexico, a city located 60 miles outside of Mexico City.
The landscape is very industrial and many of the people can not afford the cost of hearing aids or the care associated with hearing loss. The Foundation is able to help thousands in the course of a week and set up after care as well. About 500 people per day were fitted with hearing aids and many heard for the first time.
It is a great feeling to help others in need who would otherwise have no other option. Coming back from these trips allows me to appreciate more what we take for granted here in the USA. We have a great country with a variety of resources, a luxury not shared by every region of the world.
It’s not just third-world countries that suffer from the dire need of better hearing, there are plenty of people in the USA that can not afford the gift of better hearing. Luckily if you can not afford a hearing aid here in the USA we have the Hear Now Program which provides aids through the Starkey Hearing Foundation. For more information on the Starkey Hearing Foundation or if you have any questions about these mission trips or the Hear Now Program in the USA, you can visit www.starkeyhearingfoundation.org.
Andrew Roth, a hearing instrument specialist (HIS) with the Saratoga Ballston Spa and Amsterdam Starkey HearCare offices, recently joined the Starkey Hearing Foundation on a medical mission to Mexico.
The Starkey Hearing Foundation started this mission in Tlaxcala, Mexico where they fit 580 people with hearing aids. From Tlaxcala, Roth traveled with the foundation to Toluca, which is a city 60 miles from Mexico City.
The foundation fits roughly 500 people in need per day with hearing instruments, which allows many people to hear for the first time. The ability to obtain hearing health care and hearing aids is very scarce in many parts of Mexico, and residents come from around the country to be fit by the Starkey Hearing Foundation.
“It is a great feeling to help others in need who would otherwise have no other option,” Roth said. “Coming back from these trips allows me to appreciate more what we take for granted here in the U.S. We have a great country with a lot of resources that we have set up that other countries have not even thought of.”
The Starkey Hearing Foundation has been around for 30 years and has traveled to over 100 countries, fitting more than 1.8 million hearing aids in the United States and around the world. To get more information on the Saratoga Ballston Spa, click here. For the Amsterdam office, click here.
On Friday August 9th, nine Starkey HearCare offices spread throughout Southern Illinois joined forces with the Starkey Hearing Foundation in hosting a celebrity golf event and hearing mission.
The golf event and hearing mission took place at Franklin Country Club in West Frankfort, Illinois. Baseball Hall of Famers and former St. Louis Cardinals Lou Brock and Whitey Herzog played in the tournament.
Alongside the golf event, close to 30 children and adults were fit with Starkey’s most advanced hearing aids, free of cost thanks to the efforts of Starkey HearCare and Starkey’s “So the World May Hear” foundation.
“To see the gift of hearing provided to those in need was an extremely special moment and something that words cannot describe. The Southern Illinois All American Team did a fantastic job & I am excited to be a part of it for years to come,” says Dan Weinberger, a regional marketing coordinator for the Starkey HearCare marketing team, who was able to attend the hearing mission.
Starkey HearCare is committed to helping the Starkey Hearing Foundation’s goal of providing 1 million hearing aids to people in this decade.
On Sunday, August 16, 2015, a hearing mission took place with the Hear for You team (Kristi MCGaffin, Melissa Hillock, Lee Baggott, Dan Baggott and Andrew Roth) in Amsterdam, NY.
This was the first year for the event and it proved to be a very moving day. All of the candidates in attendance were extremely happy to have received the gift of better hearing. With all the different types of hearing loss at varying degrees of severity, it is difficult to understand what one goes through on a daily basis. Whether it is affecting their job or making it difficult to hear family at home, hearing loss has a big impact on the overall well being and health if left untreated.
Together, the Hear for You office who partnered with the Broadalbin- Perth Lions Club and the Amsterdam Rotary were able to fit 14 candidates with quality digital hearing health care.
It is important to remember that giving to others and helping improve situations is something we all can do to make the world a more loving and caring place. As the team sat down for dinner that evening, they reflected on the individuals they had fit with hearing aids throughout the day and how wonderful it is that these individuals now had the chance to hear their families again at their own dinner tables. The team made it clear that whether they are fitting hearing aids on a paying customer or a qualified candidate that the feeling and duty does not change. Instead, they are apart of an industry that focuses on better hearing and are thankful to work for a company that makes it happen everyday. What is more rewarding than that?
Starkey HearCare was the proud sponsor of the recent Children’s Pro-Am golf tournament, put on to raise money for the Children’s Cancer Association.
The event was held at the Oregon Golf Club and featured 28 PGA golf professionals, from Oregon and Southwest Washington, along with amateur players. All individuals were competing for the championship and a $15,000 prize.
Within the last six years, the event has raised more than $650,000 put towards the Children’s Cancer Associations program, JoyRx, which is an organization that seeks to help family’s needs beyond medical treatment.
Overall, the night was a huge success thanks to the sponsors, golfers, attendees and volunteers!
From top to bottom: Inside the event, Teeing off at the driving range.
On August 16th, the Hear for You office in Amsterdam, NY, part of the Starkey HearCare Network, along with the Amsterdam Rotary Club and the Broadalbin-Perth Lions Club, will be hosting a hearing mission. The event is set to take place at the High Rollers Skate and Fun Center in Amsterdam, New York.
This hearing mission will provide free hearing aids to individuals who are in need of them. Andrew Roth, a licensed Hearing Instrument Specialist at Hear for You, said that this program is created for those who need a hearing aid but cannot afford it.
The perfect candidate for this mission is an individual who works at a minimum wage level, but after paying all of their bills and expenses, does not have enough money to afford hearing aids. The income limits for the program are: $21,589 for a one-person family, $29,100 for a two-person family, $36,611 for a three-person family, $44,122 for a four-person family, and $51,633 for a five-person family.
The individuals who will be receiving the aid do not have Medicaid nor have benefits that cover hearing aids.
The idea for this program came to Roth after attending a hearing mission in Peru last year. Roth teamed up with the Amsterdam Rotary Club and the Broadalbin-Perth Lions Club because he knew they were organizations that can reach individuals who may need the aid.
While this is the first year of the program, so far seven individuals have signed up and will be fit for a hearing aid on August 16. The hearing aids were donated to the Hear for You office by patients.
Before attending the event, these individuals need to come in for visual inspections of the ear and amplifications. The staff will be donating their time to make this mission possible.
If you would like a free hearing screening at Hear for You, or to access more information on the office, click here.