In the 40 years since the Sertoma Clubs of Nebraska, the Nebraska Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, and the Barkley Speech Language and Hearing Clinic collaborated to create the Sertoma Hearing Aid Bank, more than 5,000 senior citizens across Nebraska have benefited from the partnership.
The Sertoma Hearing Aid Bank was established at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln’s Barkley Memorial Center in 1981 after a group of Gateway Sertoma members led by Larry Thorne contacted audiologist Irv Deshayes and the director of the Nebraska Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing. Support soon extended from other Sertoma Clubs across the state and Deshayes got audiologists and hearing clinics throughout Nebraska to give their time and expertise.
The goal of the Sertoma Hearing Aid Bank at the time it was established was to provide the gift of hearing to low-income individuals ages 65 and older throughout the state, and that goal remains today. The partnership also includes dozens of Nebraska audiologists and hearing aid dispensers who provide pro bono services for individuals receiving hearing aids through the Sertoma Hearing Aid Bank.
“The Nebraska Sertoma Hearing Aid Bank is one of the longest running and most successful hearing aid banks in the U.S.,” said Jim Krysl, president of the Gateway Sertoma Club. “It has been modeled by other states due to its collaborative nature and efficiency. We are proud of the long-term success, which could not have happened without generous donors. Nebraska citizens helping citizens – that is what our state is all about!”
The Sertoma Club collects hearing aids, both used and unused, and delivers them to the Barkley Center, where they are processed. Applications are reviewed by NCDHH and qualifying individuals are fit with hearing aids by participating hearing care providers in communities across Nebraska.
Individuals seeking assistance through the Sertoma Hearing Aid Bank may visit the Nebraska Hearing Aid Banks website at go.unl.edu/hearingaidbanks, or contact NCDHH at 402-471-3593.
Hearing aids may be donated by sending to or dropping off at the local Sertoma Club, Nebraska Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing or the Barkley Speech Language and Hearing Clinic. Monetary donations may be made by check to the Nebraska Sertoma Hearing Aid Bank, 3740 S. 81st St, Lincoln, NE 68506.
“As the only audiology training program in Nebraska, UNL provides the knowledge and expertise to choose the correct hearing aid for those who are approved,” said Stacie Ray, professor of practice and the Barkley Clinic audiologist who manages the Nebraska Hearing Aid Banks. “The Hearing Aid Banks provide unique experiences for students in training to work with underserved populations and provide outreach to the greater community.”
The Sertoma Hearing Aid Bank is one of three hearing aid banks housed at the Barkley Center serving individuals throughout Nebraska. Learn more about the hearing aid banks.