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Starkey Hearing Foundation

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Health, Health Care, Public & Societal Benefit

Mission: Our mission, "so the world may hear," is about bringing understanding between people through caring and sharing. We believe caring develops trust and by sharing we find our humanity. We believe by growing engagement in this cause we can increase tolderance and respect for life.

Programs: International hearing missionsstarkey hearing foundation provides the gift of hearing to people in need around the world. We fit more than 100,000 hearing aids annually to children and adults and have worked in more than 100 countries. As a member of president clinton's global initiative, we have pledged to fit more than 1 million hearing aids to people in need this decade.

domestic missions and eventsstarkey hearing foundation conducts events throughout the country to provide hearing aids to u. S. Residents in need. These events also act as an opportunity to join with other organizations to raise awareness and promote our cause. Recipients receive new, digital hearing aids, customized to their hearing loss.

each year starkey hearing foundation helps thousands of people living in the u. S. Through the daily efforts of hear now, our application-based program that provides hearing help to low-income americans. Each person we help is fit with brand new, top-of-the-line digital hearing aids that are customized to their hearing loss. Hear now also has a hearing aid recycling program. We accept any hearing aids regardless of age, make or model. In 2014, the foundation provided $1,208,875 in hearing aids to 4,836 recipients through the hear now program.

Community Stories

7 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters


General Member of the Public

Rating: 1

I went thru their process of getting hearing aids. I'm 70 years old and my income is way below the poverty level. I called Starkey and they said I did qualify for their Hear Now Program. They sent an application with a list of things I had to return with the application. Past six months of my bank statement, proof of my income from Social Security and the hearing test from a doctor that participated in the Hear Now Program. They told me I had to find the doctor on my on, they would not tell me one in my state. I searched for days and finally a doctor said they did participate in the Hear Now Program and made a appoint for me and told me I had to have my doctor to do a referral to them. I had everything I needed except for the doctor part of the application and the hearing test. Well 10-13-2016 at 10:00 AM I was there for my test knowing I was getting closer to "HEARING" (again). They took me back to do the exam and I showed them the application from Starkey. The lady left and brought back the doctor who promptly told me they did not do the Hear Now Program, and didn't know of a doctor in all of South Carolina that participated in the the Hear Now Program. All along me sitting there looking at a big chart of things that could cause hearing loss, the chart was from "STARKEY". Anyway the doctor still wanted to do the hearing test which would do no good. They I would be stupid enough to pay them for a hearing test.
This was all a lot of crap. I should have known something was wrong when they wouldn't tell me a doctor to see. They are not who they say they are. All the pictures showing them helping people. Just try to get some help from them and see what its all about.


Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

The rumors and inaccuracies about the company making money off the foundation and the tax benefits to donors are simply mind boggling. First, the company does not make money off the foundation. In fact, there is a whole section of the factory where paid employees strip donated hearing aids of parts that can be used for re- builds. As for the tax benefits for donors, the donors do not receive anything in return, so the charitable donation is legitimate. Get your stories straight, folks.


Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 1

Under a confirmed FBI criminal investigation for money laundering.

Review from Guidestar


Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

The Starkey Hearing Foundation consistently goes above and beyond to help people in disadvantaged countries receive the gift of hearing when they otherwise would never have had the chance to hear. They perform miracles regularly and you can see it in the faces of those who receive these gifts. The mission not only helps people with their hearing, but often goes out of their way to support impoverished communities with other projects such as digging wells, building schools, and finding medical care in places where these resources were not available before.

To help spread the word about the good they are doing, they have started filming documentaries of their mission trips which you can view parts of on their website at https://starkeyhearingfoundation.org/

Starkey Hearing Foundation also operates the Hear Now program in the United States. Any individual who meets the income qualifications and is seriously in need of hearing help can get the help they need right here in this country. Bill Austin says that finances should not be an obstacle to hearing, and he backs this up by giving away the gift of hearing to so many people all around the world. More than 1.6 million hearing aids have already been given away, and more mission trips are scheduled all the time.

This is truly a worthy foundation that is out there empowering people to live better lives through the gift of hearing. It is disappointing to see other commenters who have not worked with this foundation report rumors disparaging this foundation as if they are valid reasons not to work with them. I am a hearing professional who has helped people through Hear Now, who has helped people donate old hearing aids to be recycled through the foundation and who aspires to go on a mission trip with them some day. In my experience, none of the negative things the first two commenters had to say about SHF is true in any way. They have been nothing but ethical and helpful every time that I deal with them, and they never give tax advice or turn donations in to profits.

I've worked with Bill Austin personally, and his passion is the mission work. Bill uses Starkey as a vehicle to be able to accomplish 2 things. 1- Research and produce the absolute highest quality hearing aids that do the best job in the market to help people hear right here in the United States. 2- Funnel the profits into his mission trips to bring the gift of hearing all over the world. The man is an inspiration, and the world would be better off if there were more people like him, and more charities like the Starkey Hearing Foundation.

For more information on this wonderful charity, please check out the Charity Navigator website here: http://www.charitynavigator.org/index.cfm?bay=search.summary&orgid=12176#.VXCClFJu2lI



Rating: 5

Amazing Organization that continuously donates over 100,000 Hearing Aids per year Worldwide!

Do the work, build the dream, let the results speak for themselves!



Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 1

They use donations to fund their for-profit business, Starkey Hearing Technologies. This should be considered a marketing arm of Starkey and NOT a charity. If he were being charitable, Bill Austin would purchase the best hearing aids available for these folks - not just hearing aids from his own company. I've heard rumors they charge the Foundation higher-than-market prices.


Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 2

A major source of revenue for this organization is in the form of "donations" from people who receive hearing aids from them. The people receiving the hearing aids are told that they may deduct the amount of the donation from their taxes without consideration of the value of the hearing aids. This is tax fraud because the situation is a perfect example of a quid pro quo donation, in which the fair market value of what was received in exchange for the donation needs to be subtracted from the amount of the donation. They are well aware of what they are doing and the consequences of these actions and continue to operate in this manner. Also, take a look at how much money this organization is "donating" to other unrelated foundations. For example, the Elton John Aids Foundation has received approximately $1 million from them over the years that he has "volunteered" to play at their fundraisers. Also, under another conflict of interest situation, the majority of the expenses are for the purchase of hearing aids from the company that started the foundation, and not simply at the compan's cost, but a higher value, resulting in increased profit for the company.

Review from CharityNavigator