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UW-Madison, Sertoma Club provide hearing aids to qualified recipients

May 13, 2008

Bernadette Stevens says she had hearing troubles for years, but couldn’t afford to get hearing aids.

That’s all changed, thanks to the Department of Communicative Disorders and the Sertoma Club of Madison’s program that turns used hearing aids into credits to purchase new hearing aids for qualified recipients.

“I’m so thankful for the opportunity to get hearing aids,” Stevens says. “I got them in March. It’s made a big difference. You don’t realize how much you’re missing if you don’t hear.”

Stevens is one of the first to receive a hearing aid through the Sertoma Hearing Aid Recycling Program (SHARP). Sertoma last year conducted the campaign in Dane County in May — Better Hearing and Speech Month — and is doing so again this year.

“Sertoma collected hundreds of hearing aids last May — our first campaign — and we received enough credits to be able to begin providing hearing aids to dozens of people,” says David Scher of Sertoma. “This year we’re also focusing on getting the word out to the right people so that we can help them get hearing aids at little or no cost to them.”

Collection points for the Sertoma Hearing Aid Recycling Program include audiology clinics, drug stores, funeral homes, nursing homes and religious institutions.

Hearing aids that are collected will be reconditioned through a salvage program at Starkey Laboratories, the world’s largest maker of hearing instruments. The Sertoma Club will receive credits for hearing aids that are turned in through SHARP. Sertoma will use the credits and work with the UW–Madison Department of Communicative Disorders Speech and Hearing Clinic to provide reconditioned hearing aids at limited cost to qualified recipients. Application information is available online.

People without access to a drop-off point may donate by contacting (608) 890-1504.

Collection of hearing aids will continue year-round at participating audiology clinics and the Speech and Hearing Clinic, 1975 Willow Drive.