Callier Program Recycles the Gift of Sound
Education Volunteer Developed Plan to Put Old Hearing Aids to New Use
Oct. 9, 2008
Reduce. Reuse. Recycle. Although this adage has been around for decades, it is taking on a whole new meaning at the UT Dallas Callier Center for Communication Disorders.
Recycling has become much more than just keeping the planet healthy; it’s about helping people hear better.
In 2006, Laurie Seidel, a high school junior at the time, created the Hearing Aid Recycling Program (HARP). HARP solicits donations of used hearing aids and gives them to people who would not otherwise be able to afford the equipment.
Seidel became aware of the need for hearing aid donations while working as a volunteer assistant teacher for the deaf.
“Many of my students came from low-income households, and they could not afford hearing aids on their own,” said Seidel. “I simply saw a need in the community and came up with a way to address the problem.”
Seidel chose to implement HARP at the Callier Center because she knew several people who were patients who had spoken highly of the faculty and staff. Callier already accepted donated hearing aids, but Seidel was able to formalize the process and increase the number of donations.
Seidel spoke with Dr. Lee Wilson, head of the Audiology Clinic, about her ideas, and he invited her to speak with the audiology clinical staff. They worked together to increase donations by streamlining the process.
“Originally, my primary goal with HARP was to spread the word as effectively as I could,” said Seidel. “I did not want any unused hearing aids going to waste.”
Individuals wishing to donate hearing aids contact Seidel, who then sends the donors a protective case and postage-paid envelope for shipping. People can also drop off used hearing aids at either the Callier Dallas or Callier Richardson location. Donors receive a tax receipt from UT Dallas indicating the donation.
All donated hearing aids are cleaned and serviced at Callier. The recycled hearing aids are used with patients at the Callier Center who cannot afford them, or they are lent to patients on a temporary basis.
There has been a significant increase in the number of donated hearing aids, and this increase has helped the UT Dallas Callier Center fulfill its mission. Seidel has continued to oversee the program, even though she is now a student at Emory University in Atlanta.
Individuals who wish to donate hearing aids should contact Laurie Seidel at [email protected] or at 214-905-3055.