Hearing impairment is one disability issue that has actually gotten worse in the past several decades. Hearing loss affects 278 million people worldwide. When people are not able to pay the high cost of quality hearing aids—which cost an average of US$3,600 each and are often not covered by insurance—they are left with poor-functioning hearing aids, or, even worse, in silence.
Thirty million Americans have hearing loss, and the 7 million Americans who cannot afford hearing aids have become an underserved population. Lions and LCIF are working to address this issue through a pilot program of the Lions Affordable Hearing Aid Project (AHAP).
Lions have worked for many years to help the hearing impaired, collecting thousands of hearing aids and volunteering thousands of hours for hearing-related service projects. LCIF has awarded 124 grants totaling US$5,021,448 for hearing-related projects around the world.
Through AHAP, Lions are reaching hearing-impaired people of limited income in almost every community in the United States. AHAP’s continuum of care model involves providing high-quality, low-cost hearing aids as well as services of hearing care professionals to conduct tests, fit the aids and provide follow-up care. Since 2009, 768 hearing aids have been provided to people who otherwise could not afford them.
Currently, Lions AHAP is distributing two types of hearing aids through a partnership with Rexton, Inc. Rexton generously provides discounted and in-kind hearing aid contributions. LCIF's partnership with Rexton allows Lions clubs, districts and hearing programs to order one or both aids from Lions AHAP.
Local Lions clubs work with individuals to determine their eligibility (based on income) and arrange testing by a partner hearing care professional. The Lions club communicates with Lions AHAP to request and arrange shipping of the hearing aid(s). The selected hearing care professional then ensures proper fit of the aid, and provides follow-up care to make adjustments as needed.
Lions AHAP has also established an agreement with HearUSA for audiologists at the company's 170 stores in 10 states to provide fittings and screenings at a negotiated reduced rate. To find a store, visit HearUSA's Web site.
Contact Lions AHAP to begin participation in this program. Lions AHAP will work with clubs to set up the necessary structure for identifying eligible applicants and working with hearing care professionals.
The AHAP program is only available through local Lions clubs; individuals may not apply independently to receive a hearing aid. Click here to find your local Lions club, contact Lions AHAP at (630) 203-3837 or e-mail us.