Feist-Weiller Cancer Center is starting a loaner hearing aid program for terminally ill cancer patients. All donated hearing aids will be loaned out to the patients who need them during the remaining months of their life. LSU Health Shreveport clinical audiologist Jessica Bever has fielded requests for spare hearing aids from physicians. Unused hearing aids are all around, according to Bever. It’s a matter of collecting them and creating a lending program.
“Old hearing aids that have been of use to people are from those who've passed on and their children now have them and don't know what to do with them. A lot of the time that’s what happens," Bever said. "In natural disasters, a lot of them will show up in places. Some people buy them, put them in the drawer, and never use them.”
Hearing loss is a common side effect of chemotherapy and radiation treatment, Bever said, and the cost of hearing aids often stands in the way of people getting them. Medicare doesn’t cover them.
“There’s a lot of paperwork that goes into applying for hearing aids. Even for those hearing aids in financial assistance programs, we don’t want to have to put them through that," Bever said.
LSU Health audiologists will fit the donated hearing aids in patients. Bever is circulating a waiting list among physicians to gauge demand. Donated hearing aids are being collected at Feist-Weiller Cancer Center in Shreveport.