Charles McMillan is a congenial guy with a ready smile. You’d never know he struggles with severe hearing loss, but it has been an exceptional burden for him and his wife.
Over a year ago, his single hearing aid was damaged and the McMillans could not afford to repair or replace the device.
That’s when Eric Hanse stepped in. A hearing care practitioner at the Beltone Hearing Center in Aberdeen, he applied to the Beltone Hearing Care Foundation on behalf of McMillan for a donation of hearing aids. It took less than two weeks for the foundation to approve the request.
Last week McMillian’s smile faded when his new dual hearing aids were turned on for the first time. He tried to remain stoic, ultimately giving in to grateful tears.
“I want you to know I really appreciate what you’ve done for me,” McMillan told Hanse. “It is like a miracle to me. It’s almost like a dream.”
Previously he said he could hear people talking, but could not make out the words. Background noise was particularly problematic for McMillan.
Hanse said he was pleased to be able to assist him and his family. In the application to the Beltone Foundation, he’d noted that McMillan was a social person and that being able to communicate, especially with loved ones, is important.
”This is the only Christmas gift I could think to give you,” Hanse told him. “You are so deserving of this gift.”
The behind-the-ear design of the dual hearing aids were matched to McMillan’s skin tone, rendering them essentially invisible to the eye. They were valued at approximately $6,000.
Beltone patient care coordinator Crystal Davis, said they offer a variety of device styles and price options. Beltone also provides financing services and leasing options, and will work with patient’s healthcare coverage as appropriate.
“We do everything we can to help our patients,” she said.
Hanse said he typically will submit a donation request on behalf of a patient once a quarter to the Beltone Hearing Care Foundation. The charitable nonprofit donates hearing instruments to those in need of hearing help who may otherwise be unable to access it. Both individuals and organizations are eligible to receive assistance from the Foundation through direct nominations by Beltone staff or network members.
“We are thrilled to be able to help Charles McMillan, obviously a person who is truly deserving and who needed our assistance in a huge way,” said Michael Andreozzi, CEO of Beltone Carolina/Virginia. “We are also happy to have played an important role in changing his life for the better. That’s what Beltone is all about.”