Buckeye Funder raises over $10,000 toward Children's Hearing Aid Fund
Student Academy of Audiology at Ohio State members at a fundraising event with Brutus in October 2021, celebrating National Audiology Awareness Month.
In fall 2021, the Ohio State Speech-Language-Hearing Clinic and the Student Academy of Audiology at Ohio State organized their first Buckeye Funder project to support the Children’s Hearing Aid Fund (CHAF), an initiative to purchase and fit hearing aids to children who are patients at the Ohio State clinic and have no resources to obtain hearing aids.
With contributions from over 100 students, faculty, friends, family, colleagues, patients and community members, the project ultimately raised $10,289 toward a $10,000 goal. Support came from well beyond campus — donors from 15 states and Washington, D.C., participated in this year’s campaign.
Hearing loss can affect a child’s ability to develop communication, language and social skills. Hearing aids give children with hearing loss access to sounds crucial for cognitive and language development. Premium hearing aid technology can be costly for some families and is generally not covered by insurance.
Speech and hearing students at Ohio State spend significant time in classes discussing hearing loss in children and the implications that loss has on their education, social life and self-esteem. Because of the generosity of friends, family and the Buckeye community through this fundraiser, the clinic will be able to keep improving the quality of life for young patients .
The average level of assistance needed from CHAF varies based on the age of the child, the degree of hearing loss and other factors that impact communication and learning needs. Earlier in 2021, the CHAF provided new hearing aids for a teenage girl in the clinic. Her current aids were at least five years old, and based on her goals for hearing, it was determined that she would benefit from new devices with improved technology and Bluetooth connectivity. Financial challenges limited her options, but through CHAF’s help, she was able to get new technology that better supports her in the classroom and in her extracurricular activities. In a note to the clinic, she wrote about her experience:
Words cannot describe how thankful I am that I was able to receive new hearing aids. It has been a blessing for me, and I am sincerely grateful. I hope that you are able to bless other kids the same way you have blessed me.”
The demand for CHAF resources varies from year to year; the clinic's goal is to provide as many hearing aids as the fund will allow each year for children and families that have no other resources. Legislation has been proposed in Ohio that would require insurance coverage for hearing aids in children if the child is covered by health insurance. While this type of legislation has passed in more than 50% of states, until this is passed in Ohio, need for coverage of hearing aids is likely to grow.
Fundraising levels were named after components in the hearing aid fitting process, including earmolds and microchips. Students, faculty and staff were creative in their fundraising, including a friendly competition between the groups to raise the most money toward the cause. Many faculty participated in the Change for Change campaign, raising $617.45 toward the grand total. Dr. Rob Fox, chair of the Department of Speech and Hearing Science, even received a pie in the face from Brutus during one fundraising event.
The work of the Department of Speech and Hearing Science and the Children’s Hearing Aid Fund makes a tangible difference throughout central Ohio. Dr. Eric Bielefeld, professor and Auditory Physiology Lab director, shared some of his favorite aspects of the work at Ohio State:
Getting to work alongside exceptional and dedicated teachers, clinicians and students, I know that our audiologists and students are providing elite clinical care to our patients. CHAF equips our audiology faculty and students the chance to do what they do best — improve the lives of children using the best possible hearing aid technology. Our people are making a meaningful impact on children's lives, and the CHAF makes that possible."
The Ohio State Speech-Language-Hearing Clinic and the Student Academy of Audiology at Ohio State were thrilled to meet their 2021 goal and are excited for the clinic to use the funds to help local children and their families with hearing loss. Based on the success of the project via Buckeye Funder, the groups hope to make this an annual giving event moving forward.