Affordable Hearing Aid Program

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hearing-aidPROGRAM OVERVIEW

Program Objective and Benefits

The primary objective of this program is to expand Lions Clubs' service to those people with hearing problems who have little or no means of acquiring a hearing aid.

Participation in this project by the Lions Clubs of SC will boost awareness in local communities of who Lions are and what Lions do. This awareness can bring more financial support for all Lions projects, as well as increase membership in Lions Clubs across the state.

General Information for the Applicant

The South Carolina Lions Charitable Services (SCLCS) Affordable Hearing Aid Program is intended for individuals who lack the financial means to obtain hearing aids. The program is intended to be the "last resort" when all other resources are exhausted.

If you or someone you know is interested in applying to the SCLCS Affordable Hearing Aid Program to seek help in obtaining hearing aids, please read the following information carefully. Any questions regarding the program not answered here may be directed to a Lions Club in your local area or the Hearing Aid Coordinator at the offices of SCLCS.

"Co-Payment" System:

Because of the large number of requests for hearing aid assistance and a limited program budget, SCLCS has adopted a co-payment system. An applicant must complete and return the application forms with proof of their household income and expenses. SCLCS will review the application, and if qualified, the potential recipient must provide a co-payment towards the cost of the hearing instruments.

Currently, the co-payment is $100.00 per hearing aid. Most people will require two hearing aids. SCLCS purchases hearing aids directly from a manufacturer, so there is significant savings compared to purchasing hearing aids at the retail level. The approved applicant will be informed of the co-payment amount and must provide the payment to SCLCS in the form of a money order, bank cashier's check, or Visa, Master Card, or Discover credit cards before SCLCS will purchase the hearing aids.

Hearing Test

The applicant is responsible for the cost of obtaining a hearing test on their own. The hearing test or "audiogram" must be less than six months old. SCLCS will require a copy of the results of the audiogram.

Application Process

Applications are only available from the offices of SCLCS. You may contact your local Lions Club or SCLCS and an application package will be mailed to you. Applicants have 60 days from the time they were mailed the package to complete and return the forms. Along with the signed and completed forms, the applicant must provide proof of the income and expenses for everyone in their household. The applicant must have been a resident of South Carolina for at least six months.

Once SCLCS receives a completed application package along with proof of income and expenses for the household, the application will be reviewed. This process could take several weeks. If the applicant meets the financial criteria for assistance, an approval letter detailing the co-payment amount and fitting fee (see below) will be mailed. The applicant will also be informed by mail if the application was denied.

Those who have received assistance through the program may apply once every three years if in need of additional help with hearing aids. Denied applicants may re-apply six months after their applications were turned down.

Types of Hearing Aids

SCLCS can only provide what are known as "behind-the-ear" (BTE) style hearing aids. The aids are new, digital non-programmable and include a 12 month repair or replacement warranty. Any repairs to the aid beyond the 12 month warranty period will be the responsibility of the recipient of the hearing aid.

Fitting Fee

The hearing professional who performed the hearing test will be asked to perform the fitting of the hearing aid to the recipient. This service requires the making of an impression of the ear called an "ear-mold." Programming and adjustment of the instruments is also required. Hearing professionals will require an office visit fee to provide this service. SCLCS will negotiate the amount of this fee. The fee charged by hearing professionals for the "ear-mold" and fitting of BTE aids varies widely. SCLCS will negotiate the amount with the hearing professional. Typically, the charge is between $150.00 and $350.00.

The local Lions Club that sponsors the applicant will be asked if it is willing to pay some or all of the fitting fees. If the Club cannot help with this expense, the applicant will be required to enter into an agreement to pay the hearing professional's fitting fee. This amount will also be outlined in the approval letter.

If the local Lions Club cannot pay the fitting fee, and the applicant does not enter into the agreement to pay the fee, the hearing aids will not be ordered and the file will be closed.

The applicant will also be responsible for any additional office visit fees required by the hearing professional beyond the original fitting.

Follow-up

SCLCS will contact the recipient before the warranty period expires to ask if the hearing instruments are in use and functioning. At the time of the fitting the recipient will be asked to sign an agreement that if not useful for any reason, the aids will be returned to SCLCS.

Contact Information

South Carolina Lions Charitable Services
234-C Outlet Pointe Blvd.
Columbia, SC 29210
Phone: 866-325-4667 (toll-free)
803-796-1304 (local)

Or contact the local Lions Club in your area