Education and Workforce Development Cabinet
Donations Needed for State Hearing Aid Program

Press Release Date:  Monday, September 14, 2015  
Contact Information:   


FRANKFORT, Ky. (Sept. 14, 2015) — The Kentucky Assistive Technology Service (KATS) Network is accepting donations of hearing aids of any age or condition to help fund its Statewide Hearing Aid Assistance and Reuse Program (SHARP).

Hearing aids can be donated by calling the KATS Network at 1-800-327-5287 to request a pre-paid container or by delivering donations to participating collection centers. A receipt of your donation can be made available upon request for tax purposes.

Donated hearing aids will be sent to the Starkey All-Make Repair program to be evaluated and either reconditioned to like-new condition (including a one year warranty) or used for parts.

“SHARP receives a cash credit for hearing aids that it collects and sends into the Starkey All Make program. This credit is used to assist individuals to acquire reconditioned hearing aids and to repair existing hearing aids,” said Jimmy Brown, program coordinator for the KATS Network.

Reconditioned hearing aids are available to individuals in need through participating hearing health professionals (HHPs). Hearing aid repairs are also provided through the same network of HHPs. Recipients are responsible for covering the cost of audiologist fees such as exams, fittings and follow-up visits.

Since SHARP began collecting hearing aids in October 2014, 368 have been donated to the program. In addition, since the program began distributing the aids in March, 104 Kentuckians have received hearing aid assistance through the SHARP program with refurbished hearing aids, repairs to their existing hearing aids and other services with an overall costs savings of an estimated $639,000.

“There's no way to gauge the importance of being able to communicate with those around you and simply put, these devices are not affordable to everyone. Our goal is to make these devices more accessible to Kentuckians who otherwise may not have the resources necessary to obtain them,” said Brown.

Medicare and most health insurance plans to do not cover hearing aids. The average cost of one new hearing aid is about $3,500, said Brown.

“As of 2013, the number of Kentuckians who were deaf or hard of hearing was more than 694,000 or about 15 percent of the population. Not all of those people would need a hearing aid, but a large percentage would,” said Brown.

The KATS Network, which is in the Kentucky Office of Vocational Rehabilitation (OVR), is working with hearing health professionals across the state and Starkey Hearing Technologies, a hearing aid manufacturer, to provide this program.

Kentuckians who need assistance getting hearing aids can contact SHARP for more information about the program at 1-800-327-5287 or email sharp@katsnet.org.

Below is a list of collection centers participating in SHARP. Hearing aids can also be dropped off at any Vocational Rehabilitation Office statewide.

·       The Center for Accessible Living - Louisville, KY
501 S. 2nd St, Suite 200
Louisville, KY 40202-1864

 

·       Bluegrass Technology Center
409 Southland Drive
Lexington, KY 40503

 

·       The Center for Accessible Living – Murray, KY
1051 N. 16th St., Suite C
Murray, KY 42071

 

·       Carl D. Perkins Vocational Training Center
5659 Main St.
Thelma, KY 41260

 

·       Disability Resource Initiative
624 Eastwood St.
Bowling Green, KY 42103

·       Enabling Technologies of Kentuckiana (enTECH) at Spalding University
901 S. Third St.
Louisville, KY 40203

 

·       Independence Place, Inc.
1093 S. Broadway, Suite 1218
Lexington, KY 40504

 

·       Redwood Assistive Technology Center
71 Orphanage Road
Ft. Mitchell, KY 41017

 

·       Independence  Place of the Cumberland's
60 Mackey Ave.
Williamsburg, KY 40769

 

·       Western Kentucky Assistive Technology Center (WKATC) at Wendell Foster's Campus
815 Triplett St.
Owensboro, KY 42302

·       Independence  Place of Ashland
2932 Winchester Ave.
Ashland, KY 41101

 

 

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The Kentucky OVR assists Kentuckians with disabilities to achieve suitable employment and independence. The office employs approximately 140 rehabilitation counselors in more than 50 offices covering all 120 counties in Kentucky.