Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Give a Child the Gift of Hearing

(Salt Lake City) – Wondering what to do with your used hearing aids?  Here’s your answer: the Utah Department of Health (UDOH) Hearing Aid Recycling Program (HARP) would love to have them. HARP helps families that cannot afford new hearing aids or don’t qualify for help from other state agencies.

Each year, 150 children in Utah are born with hearing problems.  Since hearing aids can cost anywhere from $1,000 to $3,000 and more, depending on features and power requirements, they are out of reach for many families.

“Many families really struggle to be able to afford hearing aids for their child, but they don’t qualify for financial assistance such as Medicaid,” said UDOH Children’s Hearing and Speech Services director Richard Harward, Au.D.  “If a family can pay for a new hearing aid, they probably can’t qualify for Medicaid, so it’s truly being caught between a rock and a hard place.”

The HARP Program accepts used devices and reconditions those that are in good shape. The rest are sold for salvage or sent to a manufacturer for credit toward the purchase of new hearing aids.  The HARP Program does not compete with private hearing aid providers or duplicate services that are already available to families.

“Without appropriate amplification, a young child may not develop speech and language normally or perform well in school,” said Dr. Harward.  “I think people would be amazed by what we can do with used hearing aids, and the families we are able to help are very grateful,” he added.

To donate hearing aids, make a cash donation, or to see if your child qualifies for the HARP program, call 801-584-8215. You may send donated hearing aids to Children’s Hearing and Speech Services (CHSS), 44 North Mario Capecchi Drive, Salt Lake City, Utah, 84113. Those outside the Salt Lake City area may call 1-800-829-8200 (use option 2, then option 2 again). 
Hearing aid donors will receive a self-addressed, stamped packing envelope in which to send used hearing aid(s) to the program.  HARP also accepts assistive listening devices such as FM systems that can be used in school classrooms.  Please contact Children’s Hearing and Speech Services at 801-584-8215 with questions or comments.

For more information on services for children with special health care needs, please visit

Media Contact:
Rich Harward, Au.D.
Children’s Hearing and Speech Services Director
(o) 801-584-8215  (m) 801-707-2106