Hearing is Believing

July 28, 2007 marked the first day that many Long Islanders were able to hear.

On that day, David Carr, owner of McGuire’s Hearing Aids and Audiological Services worked with his staff during McGuire’s “Day of Giving” to fit and deliver 100 hearing instruments free of charge to Long Island’s most deserving hearing-impaired individuals.

Under a white canopy flapping in the gentle breeze, David watched as a dozen patients enjoyed refreshments while waiting to be fit for their hearing devices in the adjacent building. “This is what it’s all about,” he observed quietly. “This is really why we went to school, only they don’t teach you the give-back. You learn that on your own.”

And then he turned, jogging back into the office that houses the Riverhead McGuire’s location, where 3 patients were receiving final adjustments to their devices.

David and his staff had worked for months in advance to screen, test, and fit patients with appropriate ear molds. The staff selected patients through a number of referral sources, including St. Charles Hospital, Stony Brook University Hospital and Montefiore Medical Center. The team also evaluated their patient lists from McGuire’s Patchogue, Southampton, Riverhead, and Greenport offices, choosing those with limited resources.

“Hearing instruments can be costly, but the quality of life change is so dramatic,” David said. “And when you see someone who has a real need, but has limited funds, your heart just goes out to them,” he noted, his voice trailing off.

Patients who had received hearing aids included single parents, seniors on fixed incomes, college students with limited incomes, and children. In fact, fifteen of the patients who received hearing instruments were children, ages 3 through 14. Several of the children had spent the first few years in their lives in relative silence, until McGuire’s “Day of Giving.”

On the day of the event, the McGuire’s team gladly donated their Saturday to fit and deliver the most advanced custom hearing instruments to each hearing impaired individual. In all, the team distributed hearing instruments that had a manufacturers’ suggested price of nearly $500,000.

David was able to do this because of his longtime affiliation with the Starkey Foundation and Audibel, a leading manufacturer of hearing instruments. The Starkey Hearing Foundation, dedicated to helping hearing-impaired populations around the world, coordinates and sponsors dozens of “missions” annually.

As both tears and cheers erupted throughout the day, the McGuire’s staff members continued to work, their enthusiasm never waning, as they warmly greeted patients with hugs and smiles.

Grateful patients filed back through the parking lot, near the white canopy, thanking each team member for the gift of hearing. David could often be heard responding, “No, thank YOU.”

As an onlooker, one might wonder: who received the better gift that day? Those who experienced hearing anew, or those who had helped them?