Affordable Hearing Aid Program
Our “Affordable Hearing Aid Program” provides basic digital nonprogrammable BTE hearing aids to those who cannot afford them.
The applicant is responsible for the cost of obtaining a hearing test on their own. The hearing test or “audiogram” must be less than six months old. We must receive a copy of the recent hearing test before an application will be mailed.
Applications are only available from the offices of Lions Vision Services. To apply, please forward a recent audiogram to our office, include your name and address, and we will send out the application. Applicants have 60 days from the time they were mailed the package to complete and return the forms. Along with the signed and completed forms, the applicant must provide proof of the income and expenses for everyone in their household. The applicant must have been a resident of South Carolina for at least six months. Once Lions Vision Services receives a completed application package along with proof of income and expenses for the household, the application will be reviewed. This process could take up to eight weeks. If the applicant meets the financial criteria for assistance, an approval letter detailing the co-payment amount and fitting fee (see below) will be mailed. The applicant will also be informed by mail if the application is denied. Those who have received assistance through the program may apply once every three years if in need of additional help with hearing aids. Denied applicants may re-apply six months after their application was turned down.
Because of the large number of requests for hearing aid assistance and a limited program budget, Lions Vision Services has adopted a co-payment system. An applicant must complete and return the application forms with proof of their household income and expenses. Lions Vision services will review the application, and if qualified, the potential recipient must provide a co-payment towards the cost of the hearing instruments.
Currently, the co-payment is $100.00 per hearing aid. Most people will require two hearing aids. The approved applicant will be informed of the co-payment amount and must provide the payment to Lions Vision Services in the form of a money order, bank cashier’s check, or Visa, Master Card, or Discover credit cards before purchase the hearing aids.
Types of Hearing Aids
Lions Vision Services purchases hearing aids directly from a manufacturer, so there is significant savings compared to purchasing hearing aids at the retail level. This program can only provide what are known as “behind-the-ear” (BTE) style hearing aids. The aids are new, digital non-programmable and include a 14 month repair or replacement warranty. Any repairs to the aid beyond the 14 month warranty period will be the responsibility of the recipient of the hearing aid.
The hearing professional who performed the hearing test will be asked to perform the fitting of the hearing aid to the recipient. This service requires the making of an impression of the ear called an “ear-mold.” Fitting of the instruments is also required. Hearing professionals will require an office visit fee to provide this service. Lions Vision Services will negotiate the amount of this fee. The fee charged by hearing professionals for the “ear-mold” and fitting of BTE will vary. Typically, the charge is between $150.00 and $250.00.
The local Lions Club that sponsors the applicant will be asked if it is willing to pay some or all of the fitting fees. If the Club cannot help with this expense, the applicant will be required to enter into an agreement to pay the hearing professional’s fitting fee. This amount will also be outlined in the approval letter.
If the local Lions Club cannot pay the fitting fee, and the applicant does not enter into the agreement to pay the fee, the hearing aids will not be ordered and the file will be closed.
The applicant will also be responsible for any additional office visit fees required by the hearing professional beyond the original fitting.
Health Screening Program
The Health Screening unit was formed in 1974 with assistance from Commission of the Blind, with the first self-contained mobile screening unit being purchased in 1984.
Currently the Health Screening Unit no longer uses a mobile trailer unit. It consists of a screening technician operating an Auto-refracting camera (PlusOptix), along with a standard Titmus vision tester and audiometer, screening primarily school aged children through 12th grade. The technician requires a quiet, dark room inside a building. Ability to manipulate the lighting is preferable.
The Health Screening Program travels to schools across the entire state of South Carolina. The efficiency of our new portable equipment now allows us to screen over 20,000 kids a year.
Eye Surgery Program
The Eye Surgery Program was created more than 40 years ago to help financially needy South Carolinians receive eye surgery or limited treatments they need but cannot afford. Qualified applicants receive quality medical treatment with dignity, confidentiality and compassion.
Lions Vision Services allocates funds each year for this program. The Lions staff secures financial and personal health information from applicants referred to the program from across the state. Each case is thoroughly examined and weighed against established qualifications and guidelines. Every year, the program is able to help people from all parts of the state and from all age groups.
Our staff works hard to make the best use of its funds. Thanks to the generosity of doctors and hospitals across the state, Lions Vision Services pays for services at special negotiated rates for each procedure we sponsor. This allows us to help many more people each year.