Since January 1, the Starkey Hearing Foundation, Eden Prairie, Minn, has distributed more than 25,000 free hearing aids throughout five countries including the United States.

“On March 25 we fitted 1,013 children with hearing aids in Kolkata India, nearly doubling the previous record set for fittings in a 24 hour period,” says CEO and founder Bill Austin. "Since 2000, the Starkey Hearing Foundation has distributed 442,000 hearing aids throughout 86 countries and has set a goal of 100,000 a year and one million in this decade.

In early February, Bill and Tani Austin and Foundation volunteers set out for 60 days of nonstop travel through five countries and 13 cities. First stop on the mission trail, Nairobi, Kenya. With a growing population of more than 3.2 million, the need for improved hearing health continues to grow. With the support of mission sponsors, Glen and Marilyn Nelson, 1,484 hearing aids were distributed within 3 days.

In February the group visited the city of Toluca in Central Mexico. More than 500 patients were fitted each day, with the Foundation distributing 6,000 free hearing aids. The mission was made possible through support from Starkey Canada.

In the two largest cities in Honduras, Tegucigalpa and San Pedro Sula, Foundation volunteers in March, with the support of the Jim Zarley family, distributed 2,140 hearing instruments.

Monterrey was the first stop of four cities during the Foundation’s Mexico mission in March.  The mission was sponsored by the Pepsico Foundation, the Kraff-Orlin family, the Tadin family, and Keith and Cathy Nester. Volunteers fitted nearly 4300 hearing aids in 6 days.

The first quarter’s mission marathon landed volunteers in the cities of New Delhi, Jaipur, Ahmadabad, and Kolkata India. Through support from the PepsiCo Foundation, Semiconductor, and New Sound Hearing Aid Centers, the Foundation delivered hearing aids throughout India in March and April.

"We live through what we give," says Austin. "Our best work is helping people. That is what life is about. Through our gifts to these children, our community and our world, we find our humanity."

[Source: Starkey Hearing Foundation]