The US-based Starkey Hearing Foundation (SHF) would distribute one million (10 lakh) hearing aids free of cost to beneficiaries throughout the world during the current financial year.
William F Austin, SHF founder, addressing a press conference here on Monday said his charity in association with Ram Navmi Utsav Committee would get hearing aids installed amongst 725 beneficiaries here on Tuesday.
“My aim is to reach out to hearing-impaired children and adults around the globe since many of them are living in isolation at home and in developing countries. The campaign to help them listen has changed their life,” Austin said, adding that he was in Punjab for the first time since the launch of the campaign nearly 50 years ago.
Austin, accompanied by Haryana Janhit Congress chief and member of Parliament Kuldeep Bishnoi said the SHF has given more than one million hearing aids to people in 96 countries so far. “We impact not just the person in need but also their family and friends with the gift of hearing,” Austin said.
The foundation presented free hearing aids to 2,000 people in Hisar Lok Sabha constituency last year, Bishnoi said. Austin has been distributing hearing aids since 1974. He founded the SHF in 1984 to make his mission global.
The SHF began as a battery recycling programme to support hearing services to Americans who earned little. Through donations and the work of volunteers, including Austin himself, the charity now delivers more than 50,000 free hearing aids every year. Nearly 3.5 lakh free hearing aids had been distributed through the SHF's “So the World May Hear” campaign. “Of course, it's fun to help a movie star but the best is to see a child react when he first hears. I wish I could go on all the mission trips we conduct each year,” he said.
Austin said his mission in life was to enable every hearing-impaired person in the world to hear properly.