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New, Non-Profit Program Offers Access to Affordable Hearing Care

Seattle --- Statistics show that almost nine million Americans need hearing aids, but cannot afford them. Solving that problem is the goal of AUDIENT, a new, non-profit program helping people get access to affordable hearing care.

According to Mike Langhout, president of the AUDIENT program, this effort came in recognition of a growing, unmet need. For almost 40 years, the Northwest Lions Foundation for Sight & Hearing has provided hearing aids to the poor, he says, but we also began to identify a large number of people whose income was above the poverty level, yet below the normal means to afford better hearing.

The result is the AUDIENT program.

The Mission of the AUDIENT program is simple: Qualifying patients by using Federal tax returns or Social Security benefit statements, then referring them to an audiologist in their community who is part of a nationwide network of providers.

No other asset test is required and limited financing is available.

"The system was designed to make it as easy as possible for someone to find the kind of help they need, says Langhout.

An income level of no more than 2.5 times the national poverty level or $23,500 for an individual, plus $7950 for each additional family member has been established in determining eligibility for the AUDIENT program.

Each person in the AUDIENT program is fitted with digital, behind-the-ear hearing aids. Hearing testing and follow-up visits are also provided. Providers are paid for their services by way of a fitting fee of $350 for a binaural fitting. Total cost to the patient is currently set at $1040 for two aids, including the fitting fee.

The AUDIENT program, formally known as the AUDIENT Alliance for Accessible Hearing Care, is a recognized 501 3 non-profit organization and part of the Northwest Lions Foundation for Sight & Hearing.

To help create awareness within individual communities AUDIENT has embarked on a nationwide Public Relations program and created an assortment of marketing materials, including patient brochures and referral cards, all of which are available on request.

Hearing professionals interested in learning more are encouraged to contact AUDIENT Toll-Free, at 1-877-AUDIENT (1-877-283-4368) or by e-mail at info@audientalliance.org

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