Deaf News
Starkey Hearing Foundation Partners with Grammy and Musicares
By Ayanna Selvey
Feb 10, 2008 - 10:04:00 AM

LOS ANGELESThe Starkey Foundation partnered with Grammy and Musicares for Grammy week at USC Galen Center on Thursday. The event drew celebrities, kids from all over California, volunteers from other hearing organizations and the Grammy Jazz Ensemble was slated to perform.


Starkey Hearing Foundation started in 1973. The Foundation delivers over 20,000 hearing aids annually. At this event hearing aids were fitted for kids who were then counseled and educated on maintenance for them.

Osmond helps with hearing aid fit. Photo by Ayanna Selvey.

The overall atmosphere of the event was excitement, anticipation, and a true appreciation for the budding technology that Starkey Foundation put in the ears of over a hundred deserving kids. They were treated like celebrities walking away with “swag” and also provided a nice lunch. Other celebrities present were Lou Ferrigno, Kenny Loggins, and Trinity, a Grammy-nominated Gospel group. 


Lou Ferrigno shared his dedication to Starkey Foundation with me: “I have been a Spokesperson for 10 years. I have worn a behind-the-ear hearing aid and now I wear in-the-ear. No one else in my family has hearing problems and I have 3 hearing kids.” He said he is always a part of the LA missions and added, “I am just happy to be here.”


Justin Osmond who does Public Relations for Starkey Foundation shared his excitement as well: “Hearing loss runs in my family. I have worn both behind-the-ear and in-the-ear hearing aids. Starkey has over 100 hearing missions a year but this is the first time we have partnered with the Grammy’s and Musicares. We are fitting 125 kids to provide hearing to 'hear the music.'"


The nephew of Donnie and Marie Osmond also provides counseling and training to kids. He informed me “that depending on the loss, behind-the-ear hearing aids are more powerful and if taken care of can last forever whereas children with in-the-ear aids may grow out of them because it is an ear mold.”

Miles fitted for hearing aid. Photo by Ayanna Selvey.

Rachel and Miles both from the San Diego School District were at the event to be fitted. Rachel, 13, just switched to an in-the-ear hearing aid which she “likes better.” Miles, 4 ½, was fitted for the first time with a behind-the-ear hearing aid.


Also present was the John Tracy Clinic who often works with Starkey Foundation providing hearing aids and assisting with kids 0-5 years old, which is their specialty. I had a chance to speak with the Clinic’s President who clarified a common misconception.

“Putting a hearing aid on a child does not 'fix' their hearing. Children still need to learn how to 'make sense of sound' and 'understand speech.'" She added, “This is the most exciting time with technology.”  She said the hearing-impaired are “using lips to supplement” and technology is playing more of a primary role. Her enthusiasm was shared by everyone at the event.

Starkey Foundation promotes hearing health awareness, research, and education. Through their hearing missions and partnering efforts their reach is worldwide, “So the World May Hear.” Starkey Hearing Foundation is headquartered in Minnesota.

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