The Chavón River of La Romana, Dominican Republic

The Portland community is invited to share the global gift of sound.

Do you have old hearing technology that needs a new home? Portland’s own Fagan Center for Audiology is on a mission this spring to fit 150 hearing aids on men, women, and children in need in the Dominican Republic, and you can help.

The practice, in longstanding collaboration with the Rotary Club of Portland, Maine, will embark on a one-week humanitarian trip to La Romana in early May, not only giving the gift of hearing but also:

  • Installing 100 filters to provide clean water to over 1,000 sugar cane workers and their families
  • Providing solar lights to a village with no electricity
  • Fitting 20 to 30 prosthetic hands made from 3-D printers

“It feels good to give back, and it takes so little effort to change a life,” says organizer and veteran audiologist Dr. Roger Fagan, who will be joined on the trip by wife Liz, a speech-pathology doctor; hearing-care colleagues from a practice in Alaska; and fellow Rotary members from four clubs.

An estimated 360 million youth and adults — more than 5 percent of people worldwide — have disabling hearing loss, according to the World Health Organization, with prevalence greatest in low- and middle-income countries.

Through 19 previous trips to the Dominican Republic, Fagan and partners have fitted nearly 1,900 hearing aids and look forward to helping 80 to 90 hearing-impaired patients during the spring effort.

“We often see 12- to 14-year-old kids who have never had the opportunity to go to school because of hearing loss,” says Fagan. “Once you watch their faces light up when they hear the sound of their parents’ voices, you just want to keep doing this for as long as you can.”

Fagan credits Portland Rotary for generously donating the bulk of needed supplies and hearing devices for the May mission but hopes to round up about 50 more hearing aids with a little help from the community. Donors may drop off or mail their used hearing aids — in any condition — to the Fagan Center for Audiology, 985 Forest Ave, Portland, ME 04103.

Contact us to learn more about this international service project.