MORGANTOWN — George Martin has been using hearing aids since 1985.
Until recently, he had his original pair, of which only one worked. Now, he has a brand-new pair that is worlds apart from his 33-year-old ones.
He said he spent several years trying to find an updated, working pair, but his limited income also meant his choices were limited.
Enter Dr. Jeremy Donai, owner of Advanced Hearing Center of Morgantown and audiologist, who is offering a program that helps low-income patients get new hearing aids.
“Two weeks later I got the call from Dr. Donai, he mentioned that he found two new hearing aids for me,” Martin said. “I was surprised and then I got so happy that I didn’t know what to say.”
Martin was Donai’s first patient to receive hearing aids through the program.
“Hearing aids typically last or are functional six or seven years,” Donai said. “I wanted to do something that would help him and not strain his finances. Since the purchase, I’ve had a number of patients who were in that situation. … The nice thing about this program is that it doesn’t have an application fee, where some programs do.”
The program is known as “Resound Gives Sound” and it allows those struggling to afford adequate hearing equipment to apply and obtain the proper aids needed.
Donai said the field of audiology is a career path that revolves around the care of others and giving back, so the program allows his business to help those in need of up-to-date hearing aids but cannot afford them.
“We go into the field to help people. Of course we know there are those individuals who don’t qualify for Medicaid but they don’t make enough money to purchase hearing instruments, so we want to give back to people who can’t afford to pay for hearing aids,” Donai said. “The goal is to provide hearing care for as many people as possible, whether they can afford it or not.”
Martin said that Donai is easy to talk to and gives personal service.
“He is very compassionate about his clients. This is what makes me feel very comfortable. Needless to say, I was very excited,” Martin said.
For Martin, the new hearing aids make a big difference.
“The new hearing aids are a world of different by comparison to my old one,” he said. “The aids that I got in 1985 were considered the most powerful behind-the-ear aids made at the time. The digital back then was just becoming well known but it was not powerful enough. Today, the new hearing aids I got from Dr. Donai are digital and very, very powerful.”
It is important for patients to keep their hearing aids updated because improvements and new technology are beneficial, Donai said.
“The technology gets better over time and it helps deal with background noise in better ways,” Donai said. “There are just a lot of updates that make communication easier and even connecting to devices like phones that can be helpful for people. Just the advances in technology, produce better communication outcomes.”