A local NHS Trust is helping some of the world’s poorest people to live fuller lives by reusing old hearing aids.
Environmental services and sustainability officer Natasha Cuthbert was going about her duties for North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust when she stumbled across a sack full of more than 7,600 old hearing aids.
Clearly destined to be recycled, Natasha wondered if there was a more direct use from them.
Hearing Aid Recycling
After a little research, Natasha made contact with London-based charity Hearing Aid Recycling which collects and sends old hearing aids to the developing world where many people aren’t fortunate enough to have easy access to the life-changing devices.
Natasha said: “Hearing Aid Recycling wipes the data from old hearing aids and clears the frequency settings, before giving them a thorough clean.
“They are then sent all over the world to under privileged kids and adults, particularly in countries where they aren’t lucky enough to have our NHS.
“It turns out that I pass a drop-off centre on my way home from work, so I dropped them off one evening.”
The drop off point, Relph Funeral Directors in Stockton-On-Tees, passed them on to Hearing Aid Recycling when their founder was visiting the region.
The team there were amazed to find that only 129 pairs of the hearing aids were too old or too damaged to be reused.
Hearing Aid Recycling founder Zoe Fawcett-Eustade said: “We really couldn’t believe how many and how fantastic the hearing aids are.
“We really will be able to transform so many lives and stop so much waste. It’s incredible.
However, Natasha isn’t stopping with this one off donation.
She commented: “I’ll be working with the relevant services in the Trust to keep hold of any unused hearing aids and I’ll collect them regularly so I can drop them off.
“In fact, I’d like to appeal to anyone who has unused hearing aids at home to send them to me and I’ll happily pass them on to Hearing Aid Recycling.
“They’ll do more good there than they will gathering dust at home.”
Get in touch
If you have an old set of hearing aids that you no longer need, you can drop them off for Natasha at the University Hospital of North Tees or email her on: [email protected] to arrange collection.