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Lions Affordable Hearing Aid Project (AHAP)
The World Health Organization estimates that 278 million people worldwide suffer from severe hearing loss or worse. Those with hearing impairment are a severely underserved population. The problem of hearing impairment is much worse now than in 1925. Thirty million Americans suffer from hearing loss. Nearly seven million Americans who need hearing aids cannot afford them. In 2005, the average price of one hearing aid in the United States was $1,900.00. Most insurance companies do not cover hearing aids, and the low–priced hearing aids advertised, are often poor in quality and provide poor user satisfaction.
For 87 years, Lions have addressed the most pressing needs of their communities. Providing assistance to the hearing impaired has long been one of those commitments. Urged by Helen Keller in 1925 to help hearing–impaired individuals, Lions in 2005 averaged US $1.8 million in donations, collected 25,335 hearing aids and volunteered 91,200 hours to hearing–related service projects.
Using the Lions volunteer infrastructure ov over 12,000 clubs in 48 districts, Lions are reaching hearing–impaired people of limited income in almost every community in the United States. Lions are providing high–quality, low–cost hearing aids through the Lions Affordable Hearing Aid Project (AHAP), a project of LCIF. Lions AHAP is dedicated to helping provide aids to people who could not otherwise afford them.
In addition to using refurbished hearing aids, Lions now can use a state–of–the–art hearing aid that compares favorably to models that cost thousands of dollars. The money that the lions save in using the Lions hearing aid, allow them to expand the availability of hearing aids.
The Lions Affordable Hearing Aid Project (Lions AHAP) is rooted in a continuum of care model involving hearing care professionals and focuses on low–income beneficiaries. The hearing aid is one part of the solution to hearing impairment. Also needed are the services of hearing care professionals to conduct tests, order ear molds, program the hearing aids and do follow–up care.
Currently, Lions AHAP is distributing two hearing aids through a partnership with Rexton, Inc. in cooperation with participating Lions foundations, districts and clubs and hearing care professionals. Lions clubs, districts and hearing programs are able tol order one or both aids from Lions AHAP.
The aids are available to both existing and new Lions hearing programs. Existing programs are defined asa those already providing hearing aids in partnership with hearing care professionals and have the process in place for identifying eligible recipients. New Lions hearing programs are those interested in distributing the tow Rexton aids, but do not have an existing structure in place. Lioons AHAP will assist Lions clubs and districts wishing to begtin distributing the aid.