Troy, Mo. – Hearing loss is a silent, invisible hurdle that over 40 million Americans struggle with. It’s an expensive problem to combat, but this Christmas season there’s a chance for one adult and one child could get help hearing more clearly for free.
Integrity Hearing Center is starting a program called the Gift of Hearing, a contest that Lincoln and Pike County residents can enter into for the chance to receive a free pair of hearing aids.
“Hearing aids can be expensive, and insurance doesn’t really cover all of the costs of the hearing aid,” said Dr. Kelly Gessert of Integrity Hearing Center. “And sometimes the cost can be a little prohibitive to some of my patients.”
To enter the contest, applicants can write a short letter (400 words or less) explaining why they, or someone they know, would benefit from a pair of hearing aids, but have not been able to obtain them because of a financial barrier. Letters can be submitted from Nov. 29-Dec. 16; on Dec. 17, a committee including the Troy mayor, the Lincoln County Fire Protection District chief and others will read over the letters and select the adult and child winners from them.
One person 18 and older, and one person under 18-years-old will be selected. Participants must live in Lincoln County or Pike County.
The criteria the letters will be judged on include: hearing need, financial need, opportunity to impact the recipient’s life and the opportunity to impact the lives of the people with whom they interact.
“Hearing loss can cause people to withdraw, can make them become very isolated,” Gessert said. “They don’t want to go out and enjoy dinner with their family because they can’t understand what everyone is saying because of the background noise, so it makes them withdraw.
“By getting hearing aids on people, it’s amazing how much they get back to life again.”
Once the winners are selected, Gessert said he’ll contact them on Dec. 18 and schedule an appointment, where they will come in to his office for a hearing evaluation.
“Determine what their need is for the hearing aid, and then hopefully, if their schedule allows them to come in before Christmas, we’ll get them fit before Christmas,” Gessert said. “That’s my goal.” Once the hearing aids are fitted and ordered, they should arrive from the manufacturer, Phonak, within a few days.
Integrity Hearing Center just recently opened in the Troy area in September, but Gessert said he had a practice in St. Peters in the early 2000s, and said he liked to stay involved in the communities he worked in.
“And that’s the same way I want to get involved here in Troy, in the community, by doing something like this,” Gessert said.
Essays can be submitted to email@example.com, or be mailed to 11 Sydnorville Road, Suite 2, Troy, MO, 63379.