A Voice for the Good: GiveHear
3Rivers is proud to support so many of the non-profit organizations that are committed to making our community a better place to live, work, and play, and we want to help spread the word about the difference they're making in our region. We’ve teamed up with 97.3WMEE to bring you A Voice for the Good, a series in which we feature local organizations on our website in the form of an informative articles as well as on-air segments highlighting the non-profits’ missions.
This article features GiveHear—a local non-profit on a mission to “build the self-worth of individuals by restoring their hearing potential and providing them with opportunities to engage with their communities through service to others.”
We talked with Sarah Silva, Executive Director of GiveHear, to learn more about this organization and the work they’re doing in our region.
How did GiveHear come to be? What’s the history/story behind how the organization initially got started?
GiveHear was incorporated in 2011 after Ken and Nora Stewart, owners of HearCare Audiology in Fort Wayne, identified a need for a hearing healthcare nonprofit in the area. As typical with most nonprofits, GiveHear got its start as a small entity with staff volunteers, open six days per month for patient care. Over the years, GiveHear has spread its wings and grown exponentially to better meet the needs of the community. In 2018, GiveHear moved to downtown Fort Wayne to ensure easier access for those we serve and began serving patients five days per week soon after. In 2024, GiveHear will employ four licensed audiologists to provide direct patient care for our patients in three clinic locations across northern Indiana.
What is the official mission of GiveHear, and how is it currently being put into play?
GiveHear builds the self-worth of individuals by restoring their hearing potential and providing them with opportunities to engage with their communities through service to others. We utilize a sliding fee scale to serve individuals with household income of up to 400% of the Federal Poverty Level, and we accept Medicare, Medicaid, most commercial insurances, and are First Steps providers. GiveHear offers hearing testing and hearing aid services for infants, children, and adults. We provide community outreach, performing hearing screenings at community health fairs and in area preschools/schools. GiveHear also provides cochlear implant services and service-connected disability examinations for Veterans. We also offer loaner hearing aids to individuals undergoing treatment for cancer or those in hospice care.
How do you see the mission and vision of GiveHear evolving in the future in the Northeast Indiana community? Where do you see your organization a year from now, or even five years from now?
GiveHear is committed to bridging the access gap for those in our community seeking hearing healthcare who are also experiencing financial constraints. GiveHear, with the help of various foundations in the community and individual and corporate donors, has built a full-service Audiology clinic with state-of-the art equipment and service. We LOVE what we do, and we change lives for the better every day. GiveHear’s leadership is continuously evaluating the needs of the community. We know that there are so many individuals in the area that need our services, therefore increasing our capacity footprint and educating the public about our services will be our primary goal over the next few years.
Could you share a standout story or two that really illustrates the impact GiveHear and/or its programs has on people in our community?
A favorite story from one of our patients, Stephen:
“The thing about hearing loss is before you have it, you think about it and associate it with not being able to hear music and stuff like that,” said Stephen, a GiveHear patient. “But what no one tells you is how it can be very demanding on your personal relationships,” Stephen explained.
For Stephen, this hope to communicate and connect with his family and friends was the driving force behind his search for improved hearing. But he wasn’t sure he could afford it. With the average cost for a pair of hearing aids totaling more than $5,000, many people with hearing loss find themselves in Stephen’s situation — especially since most insurance plans don’t cover hearing aids.
“After visiting several audiologists, I said to my wife, I don’t know how the heck I’m going to afford this,” said Stephen. “You pull yourself in because you don’t want to embarrass yourself. Even going to the bank on your own can be intimidating. You think about holding up the line, asking the teller to repeat themselves. It can feel humiliating.”
Stephen’s story is not uncommon. Many people begin to withdraw from the world around them when they experience hearing loss, which can lead to additional difficulty and pain like strained relationships, unemployment, and even anxiety and depression.
Thanks to his primary care doctor, Stephen eventually found GiveHear and was able to get fit with a new hearing aid quickly. “What you all do is amazing,” said Stephen. He expressed that his improved ability to hear has helped him in every aspect of his life — from his part time job to communicating with his wife and family. Later, Stephen was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer and continues to battle with it. He was able to get “loaner” hearing aids through our Cancer Services program before purchasing his own set on our sliding fee scale later on.
How can those interested in your services go about getting started or getting in touch?
Please visit our website at www.GiveHear.org for information about our services. Our “Do You Qualify” page provides qualifying income guidelines according to household size. We also welcome calls and emails! Contact us at 260.602.3276 or email@example.com.
Are there other local non-profit organizations that GiveHear works/partners with to enhance their programs?
GiveHear has fostered referral relationships with the healthcare community, including private practice ENT and audiology clinics. We receive referrals regularly from ENT Associates, Indiana Ear, Neighborhood Health Clinic, Matthew 25, Dupont Hospital, and Lutheran Hospital.
Are there opportunities for community members to volunteer at GiveHear—and if so, how can they go about learning more?
GiveHear welcomes volunteers to lend helping hands at our in-person fundraising events! This year, GiveHear is hosting our first-ever Play it By Ear euchre tournament the evening of Thursday, March 14, at Electric Works. We will also host our annual Friendsip ‘N Smoke fundraising event at Promenade Park the evening of Thursday, August 15. Please email our Executive Director, Sarah Silva, at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
In what other ways can community members support GiveHear—be it through monetary donations, material donations, education, etc.? Do you have an itemized wish list of any kind or utilize options like AmazonSmile to raise funds?
GiveHear accepts hearing aid donations! Please contact us by phone at 260.602.3276 or visit our website for information about donating your gently used hearing aids.
GiveHear also relies on the monetary support of our community, and we are looking to build our donor family this year. We would be honored to be stewards of your generosity. All donations are invested into the provision of patient care. Please come tour our office! We love to share our work with potential and current donors. You can reach our Executive Director, Sarah Silva, at 260.399.9863 or email@example.com. You can also donate directly via our website!
Where can our readers learn more about GiveHear or about getting involved?
Please visit our website at www.GiveHear.org for information about our programs, qualifying for services, our team, our Board, and our upcoming events! We were also recently featured in an article by Input Fort Wayne.
Interested in featuring your non-profit on our website and on 97.3WMEE’s A Voice for the Good? Text "VOICE" to 46862! Please note that this may lead you to incur standard text messaging rates or other applicable charges consistent with your wireless carrier/mobile phone plan.