If you have an old pair of hearing aids or cochlear implant processors that someone used in the past, don’t waste the opportunity to help someone else. That device may open a new world of hearing to someone.
There are a few options for you to recycle the hearing aids. All makes and models are of value and will be readily accepted. If you have a pair of hearing aids that you used and now have a new pair, ask your audiologist if the old aids would be a good back-up pair for you. If the hearing aids are adequate, they will need to be cleaned and stored properly. Clean any wax or debris from the hearing aids, earmolds or slim tubes. Remove the battery from the hearing aid and store the device in a hearing aid box or ziplock bag. Do not store batteries in the same box or bag as the hearing aid. Hearing aid batteries do not have an unlimited shelf life, so it may be a better idea to give the old batteries away and purchase a new pack of batteries when you actually need them. If you decide to keep batteries, put the batteries in their own bag near the hearing aid. Place the devices/batteries in a location that will be easy to access should you need to send your new aids to the factory for repair.
If you have a pair of hearing aids that you are no longer able to wear, ask your audiologist if the hearing aids could be programmed to meet the hearing needs of someone else. Many times, the newer technology allows you to be able to hear and understand better, but your old aids may be an adequate fit for a friend or loved one if they are unable to afford new aids. That individual will need a hearing evaluation to determine what type of hearing loss they have and how much gain they will need in a hearing aid. If after the evaluation your pre-owned aids would help them, it would be a cost-effective way to introduce that person to the world of hearing or update the hearing aids they are currently wearing. Many audiologists are willing to program pre-owned hearing aids for either a flat fee per visit or a bundled fee for the adjustments and care of the hearing aids. If a factory warranty is still available from the original purchase date, it will roll over to the new owner to cover the cost of factory repairs and, in some cases, the loss of a device.
Some people inherit hearing aids or cochlear implant processors from a relative who passed away and don’t know what to do with them. In this case, the individual may want to give them to a local audiologist. It does not matter what condition they are in. Depending on the age and condition of the devices, they will either be reconditioned to fit someone or they may be used as parts to repair other devices.
There are national civic organizations, such as the Lions Club, that keep a bank of hearing aids and glasses that are fit on needy individuals. There is a group of audiologists at the University of Arizona in Tucson that take donated hearing aids and hearing aid batteries to Mexico. They test hearing and fit children and adults who do not have that service available to them. They usually make the trip twice a year to keep up with hearing aid repairs and education. The Ear Foundation in Phoenix takes donations of new hearing aid batteries, pre-owned hearing aids and cochlear implant processors to fit on Arizona children who do not qualify for hearing devices through their parents’ insurance.
Go green! Donate your pre-owned hearing aids and help someone who is in need. Your audiologist can help you decide the best option for you. QCBN
By Karon Lynn, Au.D.