April 28th, 2014 | General | by Michelle Sabari

How Does Hearing Solutions Recycle Your Hearing Aid Donations?

By Michelle Sabari, M.Sc., Au.D., Aud (C), Reg. CASLPO

Are you doing some spring cleaning and unsure of what to do with the hearing aids that you’re no longer using? 

Bring them into one of our locations across the Greater Toronto area. This donation will become a gift of hearing for someone who otherwise would be unable to obtain hearing aids.

Are you wondering where these hearing aids will go? 

Hearing Solutions teamed up with an organization called Purinapaq. Purinapaq was founded in 2006 by Jose Orozco. Mr. Orozco became physically disabled due to a workplace accident.  In Canada he had the opportunity to receive the devices he needed and to be re-educated to go back to the workplace again. He felt so grateful that he wanted to be able to offer this opportunity to others. In particular, he wanted to offer the people of his home country Peru similar opportunities that he had in Canada. Therefore, Jose Orozco began Purinapaq as an organization that provided wheelchairs to people in Peru who have disabilities and live in poverty. Today, Purinapaq has grown and now provides assistance to people in many areas including occupational, physical and psychological rehabilitation, as well as biomechanical aid and assistive devices. Hearing Solutions collects and donates approximately 20 pairs of hearing aids to Purinapaq every 4 months to send to Peru.

What hearing aids are accepted? 

All hearing aids are accepted even if they’re not working. The hearing aids are sent to a hearing aid clinic in Peru. There, the audiologists and hearing aid specialists will determine which hearing aids are in good working condition, which ones need to be repaired and which ones have useful parts that can be used for repairs. The audiologists are able to refurbish and reprogram the hearing aids to be given to the recipient.

Who receives the hearing aids?

In Peru there is a National Council for people with disabilities, as well as some local municipal programs. These groups receive requests and have waiting lists for people who need hearing aids. A patient will have a hearing test and a hearing aid evaluation by an audiologist to determine the hearing aid that will work best for them. When a donated hearing aid is received that will fit a patient’s need, the patient will be contacted to come to the clinic to have the hearing aid set and fit for their particular hearing loss. Many patients are school aged children who have a severe hearing loss. Some of the fittings are for adults with disabilities.

Stories of appreciation

A 21 year-old woman with a profound hearing loss had not worn hearing aids since she was in elementary school because she could not afford to purchase new hearing aids and her old ones had broken. Purinapaq received two donated power behind-the-ear style hearing aids that would be a perfect fit for this patient. When she came to the clinic and had the hearing aid turned on for the first time, she started to laugh for over 5 minutes. She explained to her mother “I hear you when you whisper about me.”

A university student with a moderate to severe hearing loss wore two in-the-ear style hearing aids. While walking on the street one day she was approached by a man and robbed of her hearing aids. Without these devices she could not hear. She felt like her world had collapsed.  This student got in touch with Purinapaq and they were able to find her appropriate new devices. When she received the hearing aids, they happened to be the same make and model of the hearing aids that were stolen from her. She would have thought they were the same devices except she recognized that the serial numbers on the devices were different. She was overjoyed.

Thank you for your kind donations.

Michelle Sabari is an Audiologist registered with CASLPO and she sees patients at our Hearing Solutions at Lawrence Plaza in Toronto.

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