A GROUND-BREAKING appeal launched in Huddersfield to transform the lives of hard of hearing people in the Third World has been hailed a success.
The hearing aid recycling scheme, the first of its kind in the UK, was launched in November last year to encourage people to give their unwanted aids in a bid to improve and even save lives of people living in developing countries.
Phil Spenceley, registered hearing aid dispenser and director of Specsavers Hearcare Centre in Huddersfield, launched the appeal after reading about the work of the charity Sound Seekers, which works to help deprived children who are heard of hearing.
The appeal was launched in partnership with the charity and Rotary International, and prompted the donation of more than 80 hearing aids to the Market Street Branch.
Phil and a team of trained audiologists now plan to travel to countries including Zambia and Sierra Leone to professionally fit the devices to those who need them most.
Phil said: “I would like to thank all the people who have donated their unwanted hearing aids to this highly deserving cause.
“Across developing countries hearing loss is a problem that receives very little attention. Sound Seekers does a terrific job in raising awareness of, and assisting in, the prevention and treatment of deafness among children and were the inspiration in launching the campaign.
“When I decided to launch the scheme, I knew that the collection was only half of the battle. Getting trained audiologists and the necessary testing equipment to where people are in need of our help is the most important aspect of what I am doing.
“It is unquestionable that the support of the Rotary has helped to raise the profile of this campaign and make its beginnings such a great success.”
Phil now hopes to build on the success of the scheme and aims to launch it nationwide this year.
Gary Williams, chief executive of Sound Seekers, added: “More than 120 million people across the world – half of whom are children – suffer from preventable hearing impairment.
“In developing countries these people often have no access to basic hearing assessment, treatment, medicines or even transport to what limited facilities there are.
“The first contact they might have with medical or audiological specialists is often provided by Sound Seekers.
“I would like to thank Phil and the staff of Huddersfield Specsavers for their great support, even more so I would like to thank all those people who dropped off their hearing aids into the store.
“This will really make a huge difference to those countries we support.”