Emma Logan Wants to Provide Hearing for All

One woman’s effort to give new purpose to old hearing aids

Emma Logan, a student at Saint Francis Xavier University, is pursuing a university business degree for what we suspect are different reasons than most students would cite. “I’ve always wanted a business career,” she says, “to use it as a channel to create social impact.” Just what that impact might be, Emma was having trouble deciding, until one of her business professors encouraged her to seek inspiration in her own life story.

At the age of 13 months, Emma lost her hearing to meningitis. Today, she hears with the help of a hearing aid and a cochlear implant. But as Emma tells it, her success story is about more than just technology. “I have had immense support including speech therapy and audiology care,” she says, “My family and friends, as well the deaf and hard of hearing community have all created an amazing support system for me.”

An idea takes shape

Knowing Emma’s background, her professor suggested that she find a way to help hearing impaired people in the developing world, who don’t have access to the technology, hearing care and support systems she has enjoyed over the years. “For the next couple of weeks,” Emma says, “I kept that idea in mind, when I suddenly realized that I had two perfectly good, working hearing aids at home that I no longer used.”

Remembering those old hearing aids led Emma to wonder about all the other hearing-impaired people out there who, because they’ve upgraded to newer technology, have unused hearing aids sitting in a drawer somewhere. It also led to the formation of Hearing for All—an effort to collect and refurbish used hearing aids for distribution to economically struggling people who couldn’t otherwise get access to them.

The Gift of Hearing Organization is proud to be partnering with Emma on Hearing for All’s first major project, which is focused on our relationship with the struggling community of Yamasá, in the Dominican Republic. Hearing for All is currently in the process of collecting and refurbishing hearing aids, with the goal of providing 1,000 for our April 2019 visit to Yamasá.

A mission becomes clear

Emma doesn’t intend on stopping at Yamasá. “Although my current project focuses on helping children in developing countries,” she says, “I also want to give back in thanks for the support I have received, and continue to receive, from my deaf and hard of hearing community here at home.” That’s why Emma calls her organization Hearing for All. Her vision includes rallying hearing health professionals throughout Canada, as a network of collection points where people can donate hearing aids they no longer use.

“If you’re someone who has hearing aids that are no longer being used,” Emma tells people, “please donate them to us. If you’re an organization that tends to serve a high volume of hearing aid users with older, unused models at home, please consider becoming a collection point for us.”

Of course, as we mentioned earlier, it’s not just about the technology for Emma. “If you’re passionate about helping those struggling with hearing loss,” she says, “by providing access to audiology care, increasing awareness about hearing loss, reducing stigma or anything else, I would love to have you join our mission.”