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Masonic Charity Foundation to help hearing aid program at OSD

The Masonic Charity Foundation of Oklahoma awarded a generous grant in early April to purchase hearing aids through the statewide Senior Citizens Hearing Aid Program operated by the Oklahoma School for the Deaf.
Since 2018, the Masonic Foundation has given three donations to clear waiting lists and help fund hearing aids for lower income senior citizens who apply for assistance through the OSD program.
“When seniors start to lose their hearing, they can’t all afford to purchase hearing aids,” John Logan, Masonic Charity Foundation executive director said. “They need help so they can stay in touch with society.”
“OSD tracks where our money was spent, and there were only a handful of counties in Oklahoma that didn’t have seniors who received funding from our donations,” Logan said. “And we know that this outstanding program runs out of money every year.”
The OSD’s hearing aid program is funded by a small fee on telephone service for those who have conventional metal wire or optical fiber telephone connections, known as land lines.
Regular funding for the program has declined in recent years because many people have switched to mobile cellular phones, which are not currently subject to the telephone service fee in   Oklahoma.
To qualify for the Senior Citizens Hearing Aid Program, Oklahoma residents must be 60 years of age, with limited income and a 35-decibel hearing loss in their better ear.
The program pays for an audiology examination, ear mold impression, hearing aid fitting and one non-digital hearing aid per person due to limited funding and the need to serve as many seniors as possible.
“It’s a medical fact that one-third of seniors over age 65 will need hearing aids,” Brandy Johnson, OSD Equipment Distribution Program coordinator said. “I talk to people every day who benefit from the Masons’ generosity, and they are so, so appreciative because they weren’t able to communicate with their families – especially when they were isolated during COVID — until they got help.”
“Our program has to be the easiest program to apply and receive services from,” Johnson said. “We have a bigger goal and that is to one day serve all deaf and hard of hearing (seniors) who need help.”
OSD is a division of the Oklahoma Department of Rehabilitation Services.
For more information about the program, phone (866) 309-1717, video phone (405) 294-3977 or visit http://www.osd.k12.ok.us/edp/senior_hearing_aid.pdf.

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