Loss of hearing has a serious impact on the health and well-being of people’s lives. In recognition of this serious impact, the Gift of Hearing, a philanthropic program from Hear Well Be Well, awards hearing aids and services at no charge to members of their communities who have been selected from nominations.
Nominations were received in April and the selection from those nominations took place in May. Two Meaford residents were selected and are thrilled they were able to participate in the program.
“I do a lot of volunteering. At the food program, hospital auxiliary, at church,” said Norma McCauley, one of the 2022 recipients from Meaford. “When you can’t hear what people are saying, it’s uncomfortable. Nobody wants to admit they can’t hear.”
McCauley was nominated twice for the Gift of Hearing award. One of the nominators for McCauley was former mayor Francis Richardson.
“I wouldn’t have been able to do my public service job without hearing aids,” Richardson explained. “Hearing is so incredibly important. And these kinds of programs are incredibly important for a community. It’s important to look after each other.”
Colleen Bousfield was the second Meaford recipient. She has given her life to caring for others.
“This came at a good time,” Bousfield stated. “I have so many things happening in my life. I’m so thankful. It’s so important for me to be able to hear my grandson. And to hear music again. It helps me relax.”
Dr. Rasha Tawfik, a family doctor from Collingwood, has seen the results of people going untreated for hearing loss.
“Hearing is one of the senses we use and perhaps do not appreciate the importance of, or the impact it can have on us when it deteriorates over time. One of the first tests we undergo after birth is a hearing assessment because of how vital this is for our development,” Tawfik explained. “When we lose our hearing, we interact less with the world around us; we may become lonely, depressed or even develop memory problems.”
According to Tawfik, patients with hearing loss have been some of the worst affected during the pandemic and the most difficult to help while providing virtual care by phone or video.
“Family members and good neighbours have played a vital role in helping those who otherwise would not receive care,” she added. “I am impressed by the generosity that many people in our community have shown to others by giving some of their time and effort, which not only helps those in need but helps the giver just as much.”
Hear Well Be Well’s Gift of Hearing program awarded five sets of hearing aids with full service to Ontarians this year.
Recipients were chosen from nominations based on their need and circumstances. An impartial selection committee reviewed all nominations before selecting the final five.
Gift of Hearing has been an important part of Hear Well Be Well since 2013.
“It’s important to us to give back to the communities that have supported us,” explained Kathleen Tiede, who is Co-CEO of Hear Well Be Well with her husband, John Tiede. “Every day we see the difference it makes in people’s lives when they get their hearing back. Through the Gift of Hearing, we’ve been able to help people both here in Ontario and in countries recovering from conflict.”