In the realm of social activism and legislative change, there are unsung heroes who dedicate their lives to making a tangible difference in their communities. One such hero is Leslie Holden, a determined advocate who played a pivotal role in making Manitoba Hearing Aid Grant more accessible to those in need. Through her unwavering commitment and tireless efforts, Holden successfully lobbied for crucial amendments that have positively impacted the lives of countless individuals with hearing impairments.
1. The Background of Manitoba's Hearing Aid Grant:
To set the stage for Leslie Holden's remarkable work, it is essential to understand the context of the Manitoba Hearing Aid Grant. This program was established to provide financial assistance to individuals with hearing loss, enabling them to access necessary hearing aids and related services. However, the initial implementation of the grant presented several challenges that hindered its effectiveness and limited its reach.
2. Leslie Holden's Advocacy Journey:
Leslie Holden's personal experiences with hearing loss ignited her passion for change and led her to embark on a mission to improve the accessibility and effectiveness of the Manitoba Hearing Aid Grant. Recognizing the limitations of the initial grant requirements, Holden swiftly took action to address the barriers faced by individuals seeking assistance.
3. Identifying Limitations and Advocating for Change:
Holden observed that the original grant guidelines mandated individuals with hearing loss to first consult an audiologist or an Ear, Nose, and Throat (ENT) doctor with a referral from their personal physician. However, not all hearing aid centers had resident audiologists, making it difficult for some individuals to access the required services. Additionally, hearing instrument practitioners, who were licensed as hearing aid dealers under a Provincial Act, were not qualified to write prescriptions for hearing aids, creating unnecessary delays and overburdening the medical system.
4. Building Alliances and Engaging Government Officials:
Holden wrote a compelling letter to the Minister of Seniors highlighting the licensing of hearing aid instrument specialists and their involvement with various provincial and national programs. She stressed the importance of recognizing their expertise and the need to grant them the authority to write prescriptions for hearing aids. The letter prompted a response and opened a dialogue with Danny Sisler, an official in the Minister's office, who expressed willingness to address the concerns.
5. Amendments and Positive Impact:
Through persistent advocacy and fruitful discussions with government officials, Holden successfully influenced the modification of the grant program. The amendments allowed hearing aid instrument specialists to assist individuals with the application process, facilitating house calls for those in long-term care or with mobility issues. By eliminating the need for referrals from audiologists or ENT doctors, the process became more streamlined, alleviating the burden on the medical system and expediting access to vital hearing aid services.
6. Continuing Contributions and Recognitions:
Leslie Holden's contributions extend beyond her work on the Manitoba Hearing Aid Grant. As a Past President of the Manitoba Society of Hearing Instrument Practitioners and a tireless advocate, she has continuously strived to improve standards and qualifications within the industry. Holden's efforts led to the implementation of two years of education at Grant McEwan University as a requirement for Hearing Instrument Specialists and the introduction of Board Certification, ensuring that hearing instrument practitioners in Manitoba met the same rigorous requirements as their counterparts in other provinces. Her achievements have garnered recognition from various organizations, and she proudly serves as the Canadian Governor for the International Hearing Society.
Leslie Holden's unwavering commitment to improving the accessibility to the Manitoba Hearing Aid Grant has made her a beacon of hope for individuals with hearing impairments. Through her advocacy efforts, she has not only raised awareness about the grant but also worked towards streamlining the application process and ensuring that eligible individuals can access the financial support they need to obtain suitable hearing aids. Holden's work serves as an inspiration to all those who believe in fighting for equal opportunities and accessibility in hearing healthcare.
Are You or Someone You Know Eligible For The Manitoba Hearing Aid Grant?
The Manitoba Hearing Aid Grant qualifications are quite straightforward. More than one member of a family can qualify, total family income must be less than $80,000, the qualifying individuals must be over 65 years of age, and have a prescription for hearing loss. The $2,000 grant is for the purchase of new hearing aids and is applied as a credit at the time of purchase once the application is approved. For more information on eligibility or to take the first step by booking a hearing test, call us at (204) 788-1083. Thanks for reading.