Skip to content

'I won the jackpot': HearingLife Bradford gives senior gift of hearing

'I have been going through hell the last couple of years. Nowadays we live on so little,' says recipient

It's a big gesture with an even bigger impact.

After suffering from hearing loss for several years, 84 year old Toni Vandenbroucke is the recipient of top of the line hearing aids provided by HearingLife Bradford, free of charge. It's all part of the National Campaign for Better Hearing.

HearingLife Client Service Administrator Sara Finlay explained that hearing tests are free, but HearingLife’s head office sets aside $4 for every hearing test performed – one of more than 200 hearing health centres across Canada participating in the campaign. The money goes into a pot that is used to pay for hearing aids for clients facing financial hardship.

Bradford HearingLife applied on behalf of Vandenbroucke, and the gift was approved.

When asked how grateful she was to be selected, Vandenbroucke said, "I cannot say it in one word. So many times I'd have to say 'what, huh, pardon.' It's going to make a big difference."

In the past five years, the program has allowed the clinic to give out five free pairs of hearing aids to those in need. 

"It just feels like we're coming together," said Finlay of the donation. "It takes a village to help everyone, especially since COVID too. Just being able to make a difference and know we're making a difference in her life, it's really nice."

The cost for Vandenbroucke's hearing aids would have run her $10,000. Money she said that is hard to come by.

"I have been going through hell the last couple of years," she said. "Nowadays we live on so little. I won the jackpot here."

Finlay says it never gets old to see program recipients receive their new hearing aids.

"They usually say things like, 'I never believed I'd hear the birds chirping again.' Stuff that we maybe take for granted when we have perfect hearing," she explained. "They're also a lot less tired because they're not having to concentrate so hard to hear what people are saying. So there are a lot of pros."

Statistics show that hearing loss strikes one in five Canadians, and more than 47 per cent of those over 60.

While the campaign is focused on people age 60 and older, HearingLife and its national affiliated partners provide a free baseline hearing assessment to any adult, 18 or over, with no referrals required. The free hearing assessment and consultation can be completed in one hour.

May is Better Hearing Month, and Bradford's HearingLife wants to remind residents of the importance of getting their hearing checked.

Finlay says early identification and intervention is important.

"Many people live with unidentified hearing loss, often failing to realize that they are missing certain sounds and words. Checking one’s hearing is the first step toward addressing the issue."

The clinic works with clients to determine the symptoms and type of hearing loss, as well as treatments and prevention tools to avoid further hearing loss. 

It continues to remind community members what the five signs of hearing loss are:

  • Mumbling – you can hear but not understand everything
  • Can hear but not understand conversation
  • Complaints that the TV is too loud or you can’t hear it
  • Difficulties hearing with background noise
  • Withdrawal from social situations because “they can’t keep up”

Ways to assist with hearing impairment are:

  • Face the person when speaking
  • Talk slower and move closer
  • Get the person’s attention before speaking
  • Position your back to other noises/distractions
  • Recommend a hearing test or hearing aid adjustment

HearingLife is located at 61 Holland St. W., in Bradford. For more information or to book your free hearing test, contact the Bradford HearingLife Centre here.

Kristen Brownell

About the Author: Kristen Brownell

Kristen Brownell is Editor of InnisfilToday and BradfordToday. Kristen has covered a variety of major national and international news stories, but her passion for local news led her back to covering the community where she grew up
Read more

Reader Feedback