Tips & Advice
- 24 November 2012
- by Megan Mitchell
The National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders/National Institutes of Health (NIDCD/NIH) estimates that in the United States approximately 36 million persons with hearing loss have no access to low-cost hearing aids. The mission of Ears for Years, Inc., a non-profit organization, is to provide hearing aids to deaf children in developing countries who could not afford such resources on their own.
Ears for Years, Inc. has a model that is both economically and environmentally friendly. According to the NIDCD/NIH, fewer than 20% of those with hearing problems seek treatment. All or part of this reason could be because the cost of medical help. The average hearing aid costs can range between $1,000 and $4000; the batteries for these hearing aids cost around $2.00, yet they only last about a week. Medicare and most private insurances agencies cannot cover these fees, but Ears for Years, Inc. has a goal to make hearing more accessible. Their plan is to use solar-power hearing aids. This inexpensive, innovative idea was formed with developing countries in mind, as there is a limited access to hearing aids and their batteries for these areas. For every $100 that Ears for Years, Inc. raises, an underprivileged child will be given a hearing aid, a solar charger, and 4 rechargeable batteries.
"I believe that every child deserves the best possible start in life and support for them to reach their full potential. Hearing is critical to communication and learning," said Grace O'Brien, Founder and Executive Director of Ears for Years, Inc. Grace founded this nonprofit this past summer as she was volunteering with children who were experiencing hearing loss. Grace got to watch the children grow and build self-confidence in their speaking and listening skills. "It's amazing to think that for just $100 a child will have the ability to hear. My goal for Ears for Years is to change the lives of children one ear at a time. Every hearing aid can help a child receive a quality education, become employed, and ultimately support a family."
If you are interested in becoming more involved with this organization, please contact Grace O'Brien by visiting EarsForYears.org.