May 28—MANKATO — Allie Hillesheim needed new hearing aids after finding out her hearing had worsened, but her insurance wouldn't help cover them.
The 20-year-old Mankato resident and her family couldn't afford new hearing aids, so her mom reached out to Starkey, a hearing technology company based in Eden Prairie. The company launched a program, Starkey Cares, this month to make health care more accessible by providing individuals in need and frontline health care workers with free hearing aids.
Within a couple of weeks of reaching out, Hillesheim, who has had hearing problems since birth, was fitted with a new pair of hearing aids.
"I'm just so grateful," she said of the experience. A celebration was put on by Starkey, announcing the donation to Hillesheim and kicking off of the program. U.S. 2nd District Rep Angie Craig attended the event and met with Hillesheim.
"It was such a cool experience," Hillesheim said.
The company has provided almost 40 individuals in need and frontline health care workers with free hearing aids this month as part of Starkey Cares. The company plans to expand outreach this summer and provide more than 100 more people with hearing aids this year.
"It has been a difficult year for many people, with great changes impacting them in ways they never could have imagined," said Bill Austin, chairman for Starkey, in a statement. "One thing that hasn't changed is Starkey's commitment to giving the gift of hearing to those with hearing loss, regardless of life's circumstances."
Hillesheim didn't think she would be able to receive free hearing aids because she doesn't qualify for income-based medical assistance and was surprised Starkey helped her out. She encourages anyone who needs assistance to reach out to Starkey.