Do you have hearing aids sitting in the drawer or in your closet that you don’t wear any more, but don’t know what to do with them? Or do you have hearing aids from family members who have passed away or those who now have cochlear implants and don’t wear the hearing aids anymore? There is an option; donating them.
You might want to consider donating your old hearing aids because those who are deaf or losing their hearing are an underserved population. There are an estimated 278 million people struggling with hearing loss. Let’s face it; hearing aids are expensive, costing well over $3,000 each, which means that these people have to deal with poor-quality or ill-configured hearing aids, or silence, especially in places where the population of deaf people are either low or the sign language literacy rate is very low (low-level language skills). Donating your hearing aids is a way to relieve a small portion of the pressure on the need for services while lightening the household burden that might be weighing you down. Donating also helps to keep electronics out of the landfill because there are heavy metals such as mercury in the circuitry and some rare earth metals that would be toxic and leach into the environment.
There are several donation options you can choose.
In-the-ear hearing aids are typically sent by the donation center to the manufacturer because they can recycle the electronics to make refurbished hearing aids. The Hearing Aid Recycling Program (HARP) of the Lions Clubs is such an example. These donations can earn credit towards loaner hearing aids. The other hearing aids can be donated for use as loaner aids for audiologists or school programs. Hearing aids are even used as training tools or presentation devices.
An audiologist would be a place to contact for donating instructions.
Another source is the Hear Now program at the Starkey Hearing Foundation – http://www.starkeyhearingfoundation.org/programs/hear-now/
You might also contact the Lion’s Clubs International Foundation project, the Affordable Hearing Aid Project at their web site – http://www.lcif.org/EN/our-programs/humanitarian-efforts/hearing/index.php – they can help you find the local places where you can donate them.
In case you didn’t know, such donations are tax deductible. You would have to get a receipt from the hearing aid manufacturer for the fair market value.
Do you have other options for recycling hearing aids that I did not mention? Please comment below.