2019-01-04 / Community News

Teacher receives the gift of hearing

Special to the Leader


Beltone’s Karen Kirtani, a hearing instrument specialist, fits Charles Barnard with new hearing aids on Thursday, Dec. 27. (Courtesy photo) Beltone’s Karen Kirtani, a hearing instrument specialist, fits Charles Barnard with new hearing aids on Thursday, Dec. 27. (Courtesy photo) Karen Kirtani a board-certified, hearing instrument specialist with Beltone in Scarborough, helped obtain new hearing aids for a patient. Kirtani said she loves what she does for a living, “Because I get to make a difference in patients’ lives every day which is incredibly rewarding.”

She said there’s nothing she wouldn’t do for her patients and that includes going above and beyond the call of duty.

Her patient, Charles Barnard, 54, of Portland, was in need of new hearing aids and that’s where Kirtani stepped in and the hearing aids were fitted on Thursday, Dec. 27.

Kirtani decided she could not sit idly by without helping her patient, so she decided to apply to the Beltone Hearing Care Foundation on his behalf to see if she could get him approved for new hearing aids.

The foundation, a 501(c)(3) charitable organization, donates hearing aids to those who are in need and are unable to access them. Both individuals and organizations are eligible to receive assistance from the foundation through direct nominations to Beltone or at one of its 1,500 locations across North America.

“This foundation gives us a new path to achieve this mission by helping deserving individuals and organizations in their communities enrich their quality of life through better hearing,” said Michael Andreozzi, CEO of Beltone New England.

Kirtani included a letter to the foundation, in it, she wrote, “Charles Barnard is a 54-year-old middle school teacher from Portland, Maine. His hearing loss started at a very young age. He began his teaching career 18 years ago and also started to wear hearing aids around that same time. He couldn’t hear his students.”

“More recently, Charles has been wearing hearing aids that were 11 years old until they both stopped working.

“He admits he hasn’t heard well for a while but has not been able to afford a newer pair of aids. He has four children; three in college, and one graduating from high school and going to college next year.

“Even with his other aids, he was still missing about 80 percent of what was going on in meetings and in his classroom. Now, with his aids not working, he really can’t hear at all. He has a severe loss and cannot even talk on the phone anymore. He can’t hear his wife or daughter. His hearing loss is affecting his communication with his students and other teachers. He can’t hear at all during meetings with other faculty or parents.

“Charles is a very nice man with a great personality. It would be a real gift to his family, students and community to get him back into life’s conversation.”

With Kirtani’s help, the Beltone Hearing Care Foundation approved Barnard for new hearing aids and was fitted with them on Thursday, Dec. 27 at The Beltone Hearing Center located at 456 Payne Road in Scarborough.

“We are thrilled to be able to help Charles Barnard, obviously a person who is truly deserving and who needed our assistance in a huge way,” Andreozzi said.

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