One of the most popular grant programs supported by the American Academy of Audiology Foundation is the Humanitarian, Education, and Awareness Resources (HEAR) Chapter Grants, underwritten generously by Starkey Hearing Technologies. Offered twice per year to Student Academy of Audiology (SAA) chapters, these grants help fund the development of a new chapter project or the refinement of an existing project that is either humanitarian or educational in nature, or related to the awareness of audiology. SAA chapters must demonstrate a plan to raise money for a portion of the project funding. Grants are in the amount of $250, $500, or $1,000. 

For several years, HEAR Chapter Grant recipients have used the proceeds to benefit local, national, and international communities. Thanks to the support from Starkey Hearing Technologies, many chapters have been able to use the funding to help fill the needs of underserved areas around the world. 

In 2017, the SAA Chapter at Arizona State University led a humanitarian effort by embarking on a five-week journey to the African country of Malawi. The students’ efforts resulted in 276 hearing aids fitted on 160 people in need of amplification. In the same year, a group of 37 students, audiologists, and volunteers from the University of    Wisconsin traveled to Guatemala to provide hearing services. The group screened the hearing of 550 people in just three days and fit 70 patients with hearing aids. 

Also in 2017, the SAA chapter at Utah State University was awarded a HEAR Chapter Grant that allowed nine graduate students and three faculty members to travel to Cambodia. The group fit 1,024 individuals with hearing aids during their time there, and the patients were set up with AfterCare through the Starkey Hearing Foundation. 

In 2014, a HEAR Chapter Grant helped to fund travel to Peru for AuD students from Northwestern University. In Peru, these students provided educational sessions and a hearing health-care seminar.

In domestic efforts, the Wayne State University SAA Chapter used the funds from a HEAR Chapter Grant to open a student study lounge in 2013. The designated area provides audiology students a place to study and relax with other students within the field. In 2015, the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences SAA Chapter opened the Good Shepherd Audiology Clinic in Oklahoma City, and the HEAR Chapter Grant helped to cover the cost of supplies within the clinic. The audiology clinic collaborates with existing clinics within the Good Shepherd program. 

HEAR Chapter Grant recipients also focused their efforts to improve awareness of the profession of audiology within their communities. In early 2017, the SAA chapter at A.T. Still University sponsored the third annual Education and Recreation (EAR) Day with the help of a HEAR Chapter Grant. This event provided education for young students and their parents about the auditory system, hearing loss, and resources within the community, while providing fun activities and exercise. The chapter positive comments from all who attended. 

In April 2017, the SAA chapter at Purdue University hosted a pediatric benefit dinner. The HEAR Chapter Grant helped to fund the costs of the dinner, and the group was able to raise more than $10,000 at the event. The money raised was used to help fund pediatric hearing aid programs within the state of Indiana. 

In the fall of 2017, SAA chapters from the University of Iowa and Northern Illinois University sponsored 5K walk/run events in their communities with the help of HEAR Chapter Grants. The University of Iowa raised $1,866 for the Hearing Assistive Technology Fund. Northern Illinois University raised more than $2,900 for a local organization, Hear the Cheers.  

Thanks to the HEAR Chapter Grants program and the support of Starkey Hearing Technologies, SAA chapters have made large impacts in their local communities and beyond. These grants help SAA chapters succeed in advancing the profession of audiology and meeting humanitarian needs around the world. 

HEAR Chapter Grant applicants can find more information on the SAA website.