Our Hearing Journey
Monica knew that hearing aids would help. She just didn’t know where to turn. Finances were tight and there wasn’t anything left that she could sell for some extra cash. But it was getting harder and harder to take care of her children. And when the lights were out at night, she wasn’t sure if she would know if someone called out for help.
Stories like this describe the hopelessness and fear that accompany hearing loss. A total lack of support, coupled by a sense of isolation and inability. These are the stories that we are changing. These are the families that we are reaching with the Gift of Hearing.
Ken and Nora Stewart, owners of HearCare Audiology, started addressing the serious need for a hearing health clinic in 2008 as they began to witness the effects of a struggling economy on their patients and their ability to access hearing healthcare. Cutbacks and loss of income made getting treatment for hearing loss (hearing aids) less affordable and accessible. Ken and Nora struggled with not being able to assist these patients in getting the help they needed. They found it heartbreaking that the gap of people falling between the cracks was growing.
HearCare Connection was founded to identify and provide for this unmet need in our community. Our program is unique and not duplicated by any other agency in the Northeast Indiana region. Founded in October 2011, our nonprofit received our 501(c)(3) approval in record time, started our reduced fee, sliding scale clinic, and began seeing patients. We believe that God was on our side during this process, bringing all the right people to meet us on our journey at all the right times.
Since our inception in 2011, HearCare Connection has seen over 1500 patients in our clinic ranging from newborn to the elderly. Our hearing clinic has grown from a six day a month clinic to the potential to run clinic five days a week. We have provided over 4900 hearing screenings in our community and our patients have given over 7500 hours of community service as part of our Circle of Giving model. Our hearing aid donation program has collected 2800 used hearing aids to benefit this community.
So what difference does all this make? Ask Mohammed and Frances:
Why we changed our name
The mission of our organization is to build the self-worth of individuals by restoring their hearing potential and providing them with opportunities to engage with their communities through service to others. We will never lose our focus to help people reconnect to the world around them.
In 2017, our Board of Directors and staff underwent strategic discussions on how to grow this clinic to help more men, women and children in need. In 2018, we launched a massive growth initiative that included a move into the heart of downtown Fort Wayne as well as a re-brand of the organization. Our passion for helping the least reached now lives under the banner of GiveHear. We are focused on extending our partnerships and our reach in Northeast Indiana so that we can provide more people with the Gift of Hearing.
We are especially thankful
To all our donors, partners, community foundations, volunteer audiologists and hearing care providers who brought this vision to fruition.
We will never lose
Our focus to help people reconnect to the world around them. We are extremely excited about the future and look forward to providing quality, affordable hearing healthcare in the Allen County and Northeast Indiana community.
Makes it possible for us to provide a full-fledged audiology clinic year-round for those who need us the most. We do what we do every day Because Hearing Matters. Join us in our journey to connect people back to people and connect people to community. We invite you to become a part of this journey.
We’re on the move! The Board of Directors and the Staff of GiveHear have developed a strong growth initiative for this young organization. Our goal is not only to open up more days of clinic but to become a stronger piece of the health care fabric in this community. In February of 2018, we moved from our Coldwater Rd address into a new space in downtown Fort Wayne. We doubled our footprint and it has allowed us to open up clinic days to add more patients under our care. Our goal is not to have brick and mortar building in all the surrounding communities, but to start from our home base in Fort Wayne, IN and provide monthly or weekly clinics in the surrounding areas that need our support. The numbers are staggering: Over 10,000 people in Allen County alone living with hearing loss AND affected by poverty. We have the ability to make a difference, one life at a time.
Why our future's important
Hearing loss is the second most prevalent health issue globally. According to the Hearing Health Foundation, the number of people with hearing loss is more than those living with Parkinson’s, epilepsy, Alzheimer’s and diabetes combined. The lifetime costs of profound hearing loss can be as much as $1 million per person in the U.S. This “invisible disability” affects 1 in 5 people and that number is rising.
Hearing aids are a simple and effective tool to counteract the negative impact of hearing loss. They are designed to help with localizing the direction of sound, improve listening in noisy situations, and can provide better overall hearing. However according to the American Speech Language Hearing Association (ASHA), less than 25% of all people who could benefit from hearing get them. The cost and the lack of availability for servicing and maintaining hearing aids keeps people from getting the help they need. The average cost of a pair of hearing aids is $3,000-$6,000 and most insurance does not cover hearing aids. Medicaid often only provides a single hearing aid. Costs for batteries and other maintenance can run around $350-$500 a year.
These issues are at the heart of the services GiveHear provides to our community. Our focus on hearing healthcare for under-insured and low-income individuals allows individuals to afford hearing aids, get the hearing testing they need, and maintain quality hearing healthcare with a licensed audiologist. We are standing in the gap saying “no” to a lesser quality of life for the men, women and children living in poverty in Allen County and affected by hearing loss.