Raindrops and music, children’s laughter and bubble wrap popping are some of the best sounds in the world. But not everyone can hear them. The Starkey Hearing Foundation, started by Bill Austin of Eden Prairie, Minnesota is working to change this through the gift of free hearing aids.
The Foundation travels throughout the United States and around the world, fitting more than 100,000 hearing aids to individuals of all ages, and have “pledged to fit more than 1 million hearing aids to people in need this decade” according to the Starkey Hearing Foundation website.
June found the Starkey Hearing Team hard at work in Honduras and Mexico, where their impact wasn’t limited to sound.
On the Starkey Hearing Foundation blog, they share a story from Tegucigalpa, the largest city in Honduras. During registration for his hearing aid, a young boy with a severe skin condition was approached by Bill Austin.
After discussions about the cause of the condition, as well as what the options were for treatment, they learned that his condition was treatable with medication, which his family could not afford. Austin sent a team member to a pharmacy and provided the boy with the medication he needed to get back to full health, hearing included.
The Starkey Hearing Foundation realizes that hearing aids are not the answer to every problem, but they do recognize that it’s a start.
In San Pedro Sula, another city in Honduras, the Starkey Hearing Team met David and Lydia Martinez. The Martinez couple runs Orphanage Emmanuel, and drove three hours to bring their children to receive hearing aids, ensuring that people of all ages can benefit from this foundation.
Austin created the foundation after years owning and running Starkey, a hearing aid company in the United States. Although he wants to give back to people, the foundation isn’t just about hearing.
“Hearing aids are important tools, but we really strive to empower the people we help toward a better life and leave them with the knowledge that they too can improve the lives of others” the foundation states on their website.
One raindrop, one music note, or one popped bubble don’t seem to be too significant. But when you’ve never heard a sound before, one little noise can make all the difference in the world.
To find out more information about the Starkey Hearing Foundation or make a donation, visit their website.