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The Starkey Hearing Foundation Gives 113-Year-Old Woman the Gift of Hearing

Rebecca Lanier, one of the oldest living Americans, is treated by the Santa Claus of Hearing

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn.April 20, 2005
Rebecca Lanier, one of the oldest living Americans, received the gift of a lifetime on April 14 courtesy of the Starkey Hearing Foundation. Thats the day that William Austin, founder of Eden Prairie, Minn.-based Starkey Laboratories and the Starkey Hearing Foundation, fitted her with state-of-the-art hearing aids valued at $10,800.

When the Foundation learned of Laniers age, extreme hearing impairment and financial need, it flew her to Minneapolis for the April 14 fitting. The Foundation is dedicated to helping the world to hear by donating hearing aids to those in need. Hearing is the umbilical cord to the world, said Austin, known world-wide as the Santa Claus of hearing. Youre isolated if you cant hear. Ms. Lanier was very isolatedbut now shes hearing and smiling and enjoying the world around her.

Lanier, known to her family and friends as Queen Rebecca, began to lose her hearing in the late 1990s. But, according to her family, she is otherwise in remarkable health for her age. Born to a family of sharecroppers in Mississippi, Lanier now lives in Cleveland, Ohio, with her grandson and caretaker, Jimmie Shambley.


Upon completion of the hearing aid fitting, Austin asked Lanier if she liked how she was hearing. Her response was an enthusiastic, Yeah. I like that.

About the Starkey Hearing Foundation

Since 1973, the Starkey Hearing Foundation has been giving the gift of hearing to the worlds underprivilegedespecially childrenthrough its internationally recognized mission program, Hearing Angels, and its domestic program, Hear Now. Since 2000, the Foundation has provided more than 115,000 hearing aids to those in need around the world. Visit www.sotheworldmayhear.org to learn more.

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