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Lions Clubs International Headquarters
300 W 22nd Street Oak Brook IL 60523-8842;
www.lionsclubs.org

Mission: Lions are an international network of 1.3 million men and women in 202 countries and geographic areas who work together to answer the needs that challenge communities around the world.

History: In 1925, Helen Keller challenged Lions to become "knights of the blind in the crusade against darkness" during the association's international convention. Today, Lions are recognized worldwide for their service to the blind and visually impaired. Lions demonstrate their commitment to sight conservation through eyeglass recycling, sight partnerships and countless other sight services.

Hearing Loss Services: Lions clubs often provide communications aids for deaf and hard of hearing persons in the community. These aids include:

  • sign language
  • hearing devices
  • hearing dogs

The Lions Club’s International Hearing Aid Bank Program (HARP)

Objectives :

  • To establish an international hearing aid recycling program to promote the collection, refurbishing and distribution of donated hearing aids.
  • To provide clubs with a means of providing hearing aid assistance at an affordable cost.
  • To promote communication among Lions who collect used hearing aids.
  • To closely identify Lions with hearing aid recycling and distribution.
  • To facilitate the international expansion of the Lions Clubs International Hearing Aid Recycling Program.

For more information about this program and additional hearing information, contact the Program Development Department at Lions Clubs International Headquarters: programs@lionsclubs.org or visit the website for a program near you: http://www.lionsclubs.org/EN/content/harp_centers.html. 

Lion’s Club Infant Hearing Program

Audiologist (not parents) must contact

612-626-0946 (Voice); 612-625-8901 (Fax)

Contact: Kirsten Coverstone; E-mail: mcdan011@umn.edu

Website: www.health.state.mn.us/divs/fh/mch/unhs/resources/loaner-bank.html

Eligibility: Newly identified infants and young children.

Services: New and reconditioned behind-the-ear hearing aids are available for loan to newly identified infants and young children for a six-month period of time. Each device will carry a warranty. The loan program is designed to provide families with adequate time to investigate and purchase amplification for their child without delaying intervention. Audiological services, batteries and earmolds will need to be obtained through the dispensing audiologist at the families’ expense.

To find a club near you, go to: http://www.lionsclubs.org/EN/content/agree_locator.php

Lions Affordable Hearing Aid Project (Lions-AHAP) Fact Sheet

The Problem of Hearing Impairment:  The World Health Organization estimates that 250 million people worldwide suffer from severe hearing loss. Global hearing aid sales for 2002 were estimated at 6 million units. In the United States, there are 28 million Americans with a hearing loss. Of those Americans who need hearing aids, seven million cannot afford them. In 2002, the average price for a hearing aid in the United States was $1,600. Pricing is not affordable for many users, and many insurance companies often do not cover hearing aids. Additionally, the "low-priced" hearing aids advertised often are poor in quality and provide low user satisfaction.

The Lions-AHAP Solution:  To address these problems, LCIF has partnered with Project Impact to develop and manufacture the world’s highest quality, affordable hearing aid - branded as the "Lions Affordable Hearing Aid." LCIF has provided $600,000 in Core 4 funding since 2001 to support the design/development phase and to initiate manufacturing. Additionally, LCIF has funded clinical trials in Washington State and additional field-testing of this aid in Michigan, Mexico and South India. The clinical trial confirmed that the Lions Affordable Hearing Aid is of superior quality and compares favorable to aids costing US$1000 and more.

Through the Lions Affordable Hearing Aid Project, LCIF is now distributing the "Lions Affordable Hearing aid" at a cost of only $90-$120 (depending on volume ordered) to Lions hearing programs and individual clubs. Clubs in areas without a Lions hearing program will work with local audiologists to test and fit low-income patients. The price of $90-$120 does not include the provision of hearing tests and hearing aid fittings, which clubs and Lion hearing programs need to arrange with an appropriate local hearing professional. LCIF is encouraging hearing professionals to provide discounted services for these low-income patients, with clubs helping the patients cover these costs.

The Lions Affordable Hearing Aid has received FDA approval as well as the CE Mark for distribution in Europe. The first model now available is a digitally-programmable Behind-The-Ear design. A fully digital version, and smaller In-The-Ear models, will be available in late 2004.

What can Lions clubs do?  Local Lions clubs can become involved by recruiting audiologists and covering whatever costs the patient cannot afford. LCIF will be making the aid available to all Lions hearing programs and to individual clubs not covered by such programs. To qualify for participation, Lions programs and clubs will be required to income-qualify patients to ensure that low-income patients benefit. Guidelines for this are available from LCIF.

Can individuals Lions purchase the hearing aid?  Individual Lions can purchase the currently-available aid at a higher introductory price of $150, but they will be required to secure the services of a local hearing professional to fit the aid. Proceeds from Lions sales will be used to subsidize distribution of the hearing aid in developing countries.

For more information, contact: LCIF Humanitarian Programs, Telephone 630-571-5466, ext 615.

LCIF
300 West 22nd Street Oak Brook, Illinois 60523 E-mail: lcif@lionsclubs.org