KU’s Department of Hearing and Speech Teams Up with the National Hearing Aid Project

KU’s Department of Hearing and Speech Teams Up with the National Hearing Aid Project

The Department of Hearing and Speech at the University of Kansas Medical Center has been selected to be the national hearing aid collection center for a new program called, the National Hearing Aid Project.

The program was created by Hearing Charities of America (HCOA) a subsidiary of Sertoma Inc., and was launched as a way to fulfill HCOA’s mission of creating a healthier hearing world.

This collaborative effort will be made possible through a variety of steps, beginning with the application process. Once an applicant is accepted into the program, one of the hearing aids stored in KU’s Department of Hearing and Speech will be selected, and then fitted to the recipient. Follow up clinical services, and appointments will then complete the process.

As of now, KUMED has a few thousand hearing aids stored in its facility. However, not all of these resources will be able to be repaired and used in the program, according to the National Hearing Aid Project Manager, Meredith See.

“We plan to collect as many hearing aids as we can,” See said. “My ultimate goal for this program is to create a strong national network that provides access to hearing aids and services to those unable to afford them.”

Meredith’s role will be to ensure that all aspects of the National Hearing Aid Project operate smoothly and effectively. She will help individuals apply, find audiologists and will answer all questions pertaining to the project.  On KUMED’s behalf, Lauren Mann, the clinical assistant professor of the university, will supervise the project at the medical center.

The National Hearing Aid Project provided KUMED’s department with a $6,000 grant to pay for the space that the hearing aids will occupy on the medical center’s campus. The grant will also fund an audiology scholarship, allowing a student to manage the center.

Julie Otto, a second-year audiology student, is the first recipient of the scholarship. Otto and Sertoma representatives began their preparation at KU for the project on January 14, 2016.

The staff at KU will be responsible for collecting and categorizing the hearing aid inventory. This includes adding in new hearing aids as they are donated into the program, and sending the correct hearing aids specified by audiologists to refurbishing labs.

All of the individuals involved in launching the National Hearing Aid Project are extremely anxious to see the project take off.

“Having our donated hearing aids housed at a trusted and well known facility like KUMED is immensely beneficial to this program,” See said. “Everyone deserves to receive the gift of hearing. We are all looking forward to the launch of this new program.”

“I am thrilled to be a part of this project because I know it is not only benefitting me as an audiology student, but also people around the country,” Otto said. “I am excited to see what the future holds for the National Hearing Aid Project as it expands.”

The National Hearing Aid Project does not have an official start date at this time. However, it is projected to launch in the spring of 2016. Anyone interested in learning more, or donating to this new program can visit, http://hearingcharities.org/programs/the-hearing-aid-project/