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Starkey Hearing Foundation Founders Bill and Tani Austin Honored by Dalai Lama After Recent Hearing Mission to India

MINNEAPOLIS, Dec. 10, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Starkey Hearing Foundation recently completed a hearing mission in India, where founders Bill and Tani Austin were blessed by the Dalai Lama for their philanthropic efforts around the world.

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The Foundation delivered the gift of hearing by fitting more than 14,000 hearing aids to people in need. This is the Foundation's second mission to India in 2012 alone, and they had the opportunity to fit patients with hearing aids in a total of six cities – Hubli, Delhi, Lucknow, Jaipur, Bangalore and Mundgod. In Lucknow with an expanded mission team, Starkey Hearing Foundation set a new record for patients fit in one day, with a total of 1,337 receiving the gift of hearing, many hearing for the first time.

While in India, the Foundation's team of audiologists and staff fit each of the recipients with their own hearing device and custom ear mold. During the Foundation's last India mission in May, they provided hearing aids for Tibetan refugees in Hubli, Dharamsala and Mundgod. Many more were fit on this mission as well in Mundgod and Bangalore, as Starkey Hearing Foundation continues to fulfill their Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) commitment to provide one million hearing aids to people in need this decade.

During May's mission to India, the Foundation delivered the gift of hearing to the Lama Guru Gyaltsen and followed up on his progress during this mission. The Foundation's global work and efforts to provide the gift of hearing to the Tibetan people caught the attention of the Dalai Lama, leading him to grant a special blessing to founders Bill and Tani Austin, the mission and the Foundation itself.

"It's such a privilege to help the lives of others, by connecting them to their loved ones and the world, through the gift of hearing," said Bill Austin. "I am humbled and eternally grateful that the Dalai Lama would take time to recognize our work and give us this special blessing."  

Starkey Hearing Foundation is dedicated to bringing understanding among individuals and communities by providing the gift of hearing and has been honored and recognized for their work by other heads of state and world leaders during the past year, the most recent being the Dalai Lama.

Earlier this year, Starkey Hearing Foundation delivered the gift of hearing to nearly 7,000 hearing impaired children and adults as part of a history-making hearing mission to China, where co-founder Bill Austin received the passport to South Gate of Xi'an, the entrance to the ancient city. Austin was also given the first ever Orange Ribbon Award and named Goodwill Ambassador to the city of Chengdu. 

Additionally, this past September, Starkey Hearing Foundation participated in the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) Annual Meeting along with heads of state and global corporate and non-profit leaders, where Austin was invited to give an update on the Foundation's worldwide efforts.

Starkey Hearing Foundation's India Mission is one of dozens conducted each year, both domestically and internationally, in its efforts to fit more than 100,000 hearing aids to people in need annually.

According to Starkey Hearing Foundation, hearing loss is pervasive, affecting 34 million Americans – or one in 10. Yet, with the help of a hearing device, hearing loss can often be corrected in a majority of cases, giving an individual the opportunity to better connect with their family, the community and the world around them.

About Starkey Hearing Foundation
Starkey Hearing Foundation is bringing understanding among individuals and communities through hearing care by focusing on awareness, education, protection and treatment, so the world may hear. Hearing loss affects one in 10 Americans, and 63 million children worldwide, yet many do not have access to the hearing devices that can help them. Starkey Hearing Foundation fits and gives more than 100,000 hearing aids annually, and as a member of President Clinton's Global Initiative, it has pledged to fit one million hearing aids this decade. In addition to giving the gift of hearing through worldwide hearing missions, Starkey Hearing Foundation promotes hearing health awareness and education through the Listen Carefully initiative and provides hearing instruments to low-income Americans through the Hear Now program. For more information on Starkey Hearing Foundation, visit

SOURCE Starkey Hearing Foundation
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