Miracle-Ear® Children’s Foundation, Plymouth, Minn, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, has announced an ambitious plan to distribute approximately 1,000 free hearing aids to children in need across the country—representing up to a 500% increase over the number of hearing aids the Foundation has distributed annually in the past.

The substantial growth in donations is being made possible through the Foundation’s partnership with hearing aid manufacturer MEMSI and contributions from Miracle-Ear Center franchisees, which were collected during the franchisees’ June 2006 annual convention.

While hearing loss is more common among adults, some form of hearing impairment affects more than two million young Americans ranging from newborns to young adults, the company reports. Hearing loss in children can cause delayed development of language and communication skills, and contribute to low self-esteem, isolation, poor academic performance and behavior problems.

“It’s critically important that parents act as soon as possible after their child has been diagnosed with a hearing loss,” says Paul D’Amico, chairman of Miracle-Ear Children’s Foundation. “But many families, whose incomes disqualify them for public assistance, still cannot afford to purchase hearing aids for their children.”

To help these young people and their families, Miracle-Ear Children’s Foundation works in cooperation with local Miracle-Ear Centers nationwide to provide free hearing aids, services, and support materials.

[SOURCE: Miracle Ear Children’s Foundation, August 2006]