After struggling through the last decade with hearing problems, Penticton resident Don Woods finally heard good news, thanks to a donation.
On Friday, he was fitted for his brand new Beltone hearing aids thanks to the Beltone Canada Foundation.
Woods, 67, fell onto hard times when he was forced to stop working roughly 10 years ago due to inoperable back problems. It was around this time that he also discovered he was beginning to lose his hearing, an unfortunate hereditary trait in his family. He said this has had a large effect on him and his friends and family, especially because he could not find an affordable solution.
“It’s affected my life because people get annoyed at me. I’m always asking ‘What? What did you say?’ and sometimes I even get dizzy due to my inner ear problems,” said Woods. “I can’t even hear my wife unless I’m facing her directly, if she’s behind me and talking to me, I don’t hear her. It’s going to be so neat to be able to hear again.”
Woods went to multiple hearing loss clinics in the area and was even placed on a waitlist to receive hearing aids. He said he found out he was number two on the list, but when he went back a number of months later to check on how long it would be, he was told he was down to number 25 with no explanation as to why he lost his spot.
About one month ago, Woods inquired about hearing aids at the Penticton Beltone clinic, which is when he was referred to the Beltone Canada Foundation and found out he’d be receiving hearing aids from the foundation free of charge. According to a statement from the foundation, its purpose is to help those in need of hearing help who may otherwise be unable to access it.
Cherie Fowlie, registered hearing instrument practitioner at the clinic, said she has seen the foundation grant a handful of hearing aid donations to patients who are unable to afford the costs of the devices themselves.
“Hearing is such an important part of our senses, but it’s not covered under our health care so unless you have some sort of supplemental insurance, you’re going to be paying out of pocket,” said Fowlie. “And the costs can easily be $1,200 and up in some cases. Now, these aids will last Don for about the next five years, as that’s usually when they need to be repaired or replaced.”
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