Hundreds in western Jamaica get free hearing aids

Thursday, June 20, 2019

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ST JAMES, Jamaica — More than 600 citizens from western Jamaica have been given the gift of hearing through the efforts of the United States-based Starkey Hearing Foundation.

The residents, who hail from Westmoreland, Hanover, Trelawny, St James and St Ann, were fitted with free custom-made hearing aids during a special mission by the charity at the Montego Bay Convention Centre from May 30 to June 4.

The six-day visit was made possible through partnership with the Juliet A Holness Foundation under a memorandum of understanding (MoU) signed between the entities in 2018.

“We are a foundation who partners and gives away hearing aids free of cost to patients,” Country Coordinator for Starkey Hearing Foundation, Tamiann Young said.

She said that the programme of support entails three segments, with patients identified and evaluated in phase one; and phase two, involving taking the impressions for the hearing aids and returning to the island to fit people with the devices.

Under phase three, patients benefit from monthly aftercare, where they receive batteries and support for the devices at no cost to them.

“A person doesn't only get fitted with a hearing aid, they also get the support that they need with troubleshooting. They get counselled, and it's a lifelong relationship with the foundation and our patients,” Young shared, adding that the beneficiaries have been receptive of the Foundation's efforts.

The mission to Montego Bay was the latest to Jamaica for the charity, which relaunched its programme to the island in 2017.

Since then, thousands of people in the Corporate Area have received hearing aids through partnerships forged with the Ministry of Health and Wellness, Jamaica Council for Senior Citizens (JCSC), Jamaica Association for the Deaf, among other entities.

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