Thanks for hearing

Published 10:19 pm Friday, June 29, 2018

Smithfield resident Mary Grissom, 60, has suffered from hearing loss for the past 15 years.

She described feeling disconnected from everyday life, especially with holding conversations. She couldn’t do everyday tasks most of us take for granted, like just listening to her car radio or watching a movie without having to read the subtitles.

However, an amazing partnership formed recently that helped Grissom hear again. It involved one local charitable organization and its dedicated members, a free clinic, a foundation that provides hearing aids for people around the globe and a local doctor who helped arrange the whole thing.

Email newsletter signup

Chet Hart, executive director of the Western Tidewater Free Clinic, tells the story thusly: members of the Bennett’s Creek Sertoma Club approached him at a fundraiser last winter to ask if there was a clinic patient they could help with hearing or speech issues. The club, whose name stands for “Service To Mankind,” focuses on helping folks with those issues. It has 25 to 30 active members and holds several fundraisers that typically raise more than $15,000 combined.

Hart learned of Grissom, who’s been a clinic patient since 2009, and asked Dr. Carrie Knox for help. Knox reached out to the Starkey Hearing Foundation, which was founded in 1984 to formalize the philanthropic efforts of the Starkey Hearing Technologies company. Since that time, the foundation has helped people in more than 100 countries discover or re-discover their hearing.

Grissom reports being more than pleased with her new hearing aids. She can once again hear her favorite country music, birds chirping and even the sound of her own voice.

“It’s been a big ear-opener,” she quipped.

We thank the Bennett’s Creek Sertoma Club, the Western Tidewater Free Clinic, Dr. Knox and the Starkey Hearing Foundation for their good work. This is the kind of thing that makes our community great.