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Union Gospel Mission partners with Crystal Hearing to provide free hearing tests; incentives offered

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Vancouver, BC—Many people have hearing loss and are not even aware of it. In neighborhoods like the downtown eastside, those with less access to healthcare are more likely to be affected by untreated hearing loss.  On February 24, 2014 from 11:30am to 4:00pm, Crystal Hearing will administer free hearing tests at Union Gospel Mission. As an incentive they will give away 5$ Tim Horton’s gift cards to anyone who takes the test.

“A lot of people suffer from hearing loss and don’t pursue [getting help], especially if they do not have access to adequate funding,” explains Jessica Huizing from Crystal Hearing. “People often do not prioritize their hearing health because they don’t notice a problem.” Huizing hopes that the gift cards will motivate people to get tested.

The Crystal Hearing team will conduct the tests from their Mobile Hearing Truck in front of the Mission on Princess Street. Two booths in the van are used to administer the tests. The first determines if the patient has any basic hearing loss, and the second determines whether a hearing aid is needed.

Huizing says that different factors can contribute to a hearing loss, particularly for those who are living on the streets. Loud work environments, existing health problems, or prescription and recreational drug use can all have significantly detrimental effects.

As problems are discovered, Crystal Hearing will help participants seek the appropriate government funding to access a hearing aid. For some, this will mean applying through the ministry, or through veteran affairs. For those who are not eligible, Crystal Hearing can access some used or refurbished hearing aids.

In 2012, Crystal Hearing participated in Summer Connect at UGM, which sparked their interest in issues plaguing the homeless. As a result, they decided to conduct free tests. “We were amazed that so many people suffer from untreated hearing loss, and do not know that government funding exists for hearing aids,” says Huizing.

Since then, their Mobile Hearing Truck has toured across the lower mainland administering free tests at senior centres, in first nation’s communities, and has made some home visits.

What: Crystal Hearing brings mobile truck and invites community members for a free hearing tests, and support for discovered issue.
Date:  Monday, February 24, 2014
Time: 11:30am to 4:00pm
Location: Outside Union Gospel Mission’s drop-in centre on Princess Street (UGM’s address is 601 East Hastings)

Union Gospel Mission has been feeding hope and changing the lives of men, women, and children for over 70 years. Through its 7 locations in Metro Vancouver and the city of Mission, UGM provides counselling, education, safe housing, and alcohol and drug recovery to those struggling with poverty, homelessness, and addiction. The heart of the mission is to demonstrate God’s transforming love, ease the burden of the most vulnerable, rebuild the lives of the broken, and offer dignity to those who feel cast aside. To find out more, visit

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www.ugm.ca.

 

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