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Marco Island resident Harry Friedman never gave much thought as to whether he’d live to be 100 years old, but sure enough, he’s gearing up to celebrate his 100th birthday in August, and to help him celebrate, Life Hearing & Tinnitus Health Centers gave him a free pair of hearing aids.

Life Hearing & Tinnitus Health Centers is actually celebrating its own birthday, too; it turns 65 this year, and to mark the occasion, the family-owned and operated business plans on giving away more hearing aids to people just like Friedman.

“This is the second 100-year-old we’ve given free hearing aids to,” Jessica Ford of Life Hearing said. “It’s a way for us to honor them and their lives and commemorate our 65th anniversary.”

Donald Kleindl II, audioprosthologist and son of Life Hearing’s founder, Donald Kleindl Sr., said the business always celebrates its anniversary by giving back to the community.

“It’s important to not only make a living, but make a life,” he said, “and giving back is one of the most important things you can do in life.”

For its past several anniversaries, Life Hearing has given back to the community by fitting local police officers with custom earpieces for their radios; over the course of five years, the business gave away more than 600 earpieces worth more than $60,000 in total.

Now the business is giving hearing aids to Southwest Florida residents who will be turning 100, or older, this year. All of the hearing aids are custom made in the U.S., easy to insert and operate and, of course, free, Kleindl said.

“We’re trying to get the word out that we’re doing all of this free of charge,” he said, “and we’re hoping to help 40 or 50 more people by December.”

And that’s a big deal because hearing aids have a starting price of $500, but, depending on the severity of the patient’s hearing loss, the cost can be much, much higher; the set of hearing aids Life Hearing gave Friedman, who has an 80 decibel hearing loss, are valued at $4,200.

“Some insurance companies, including Medicare, don’t cover hearing aids,” Ford said, “and any Medicare supplements follow the same rule, so a lot of patients are left without.”

Friedman knew he was visiting Life Hearing and Tinnitus Health Centers’ Marco Island location to pick up his hearing aids, but he had no idea they’d be free.

“Well, that’s not bad,” he said deadpan when Kleindl told him he was getting a set of $4,200 hearing aids free of charge.

Kleindl then asked Friedman what the secret to his longevity is, noting that the first 100-year-old they gave hearing aids to surprisingly said she eats meat and potatoes every day.

“I knew that exercise was a great contributor,” Friedman said, “so I exercised and I still do. I still go to the gym.”

“Did you or do you drink alcohol?” Kleindl asked.

“I do and I did,” he said, eliciting a chuckle from Kleindl and the others in the room. It was then that his caretaker revealed that he actually has happy hour every day at 4 p.m.

Life Hearing and Tinnitus Health is scheduled to fit another 100-year-old patient with a brand-new set of free hearing aids next week at its Ft. Myers location.

If you or someone you know qualifies for free hearing aids, call Life Hearing & Tinnitus Health Centers at 239-649-5433.

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