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Widex SmartRic - February 2024

North Carolina Audiologist Gives Free Hearing Aids to Patient in Need Through Widex Community Giveback Day Program


Dr. Melissa Palmer’s long-standing relationship with Widex and passion for community service drove her participation in the program, which donates Widex hearing aids to those who otherwise couldn’t afford them. 

CLAYTON, NORTH CAROLINA, June 24, 2024 — Dr. Melissa Palmer, a practicing audiologist for nearly 30 years and owner of Clayton Audiology in Clayton, North Carolina, found at a young age the passion that would take her through her professional career. 

“My goal is to improve the lives of every patient through better hearing health and the best, most state-of-the-art hearing aid technology,” Dr. Palmer said. “This passion for working with people with hearing loss dates back to when I was in high school having taken a course on American Sign Language. Since then, it has been my honor to give the gift of sound to so many people throughout my career, as a private practice audiologist and now practice owner.”

At Clayton Audiology, Dr. Palmer and her team pride themselves on cultivating the best possible patient experiences. “From the first phone call, to their first time in our office, through the life of their hearing care journey, we always want our patients to feel comfortable and at home because patients are like family,” she added. 

It was that mantra, combined with a lifelong interest in community service, that led Dr. Palmer to participate in the first-ever Widex Community Giveback Day on February 26th. Organized by hearing tech pioneer Widex, the Community Giveback Day empowers hearing care professionals (HCPs) to gift a free pair of Widex hearing aids to a member of their local community who would otherwise not be able to afford them.

The chosen recipient was 71-year-old Clayton resident Gerald Hardee, who was fit for a single Widex hearing aid by Dr. Palmer in 2019. Despite needing two hearing aids, one device was all Hardee could get covered through government assistance, leaving him with years of suboptimal hearing experiences. But today, Hardee says his life has changed for the better.

“I was so excited to get these new hearing aids and they’ve been such a huge improvement for me,” he said. “Hearing in every aspect of my life has been better than ever before. I can hear the TV without turning up the volume, I can participate fully in conversations, and I can even hear all the little sounds of the outdoors when I go for a walk. This means such a great deal to me, and I want to thank Dr. Melissa and Widex for what they’ve done.” 

A Loyal Partnership 

Dr. Palmer is no stranger to the Widex portfolio, having fit the company’s technology since the very beginning of her audiology career. She was fitting Widex when the company introduced the world’s first 100% digital in-the-ear hearing aid in the mid 1990s and has loved the technology ever since. In fact, Widex is the only hearing aid manufacturer Dr. Palmer has fit continuously throughout her career. 

“There’s such a range of styles and accessories in the Widex portfolio that match every hearing need. Plus, the sound quality is top-notch. The natural sound is something patients tell me all the time they really appreciate,” she emphasized. “Also, tinnitus treatment is a focus of my practice, and I can offer really innovative and effective treatments through the company’s tinnitus management technologies.”  

Spurred on by this decades-long relationship, Dr. Palmer jumped at the opportunity to join the new Widex “Partners in Excellence for You” program, which provides HCPs with access to a range of tools and resources that improve their efficiency, increase the impact they have in their communities, and accelerate growth for their practices. 

History of Service

One of those resources is a complimentary set of hearing aids for participation in the Widex Community Giveback Day, but this was far from Dr. Palmer’s first foray into helping those in need. 

“From 2012 through 2019, I was proud to be involved with mission work in providing free hearing aid testing and fittings for a small village in Nicaragua. That was such fulfilling and enjoyable work, but unfortunately the COVID pandemic put our trips on hold,” Dr. Palmer recounted. “Since then, I’ve been looking for ways to bring that mission closer to home because we have several people in our community who could benefit from hearing care but cannot necessarily afford it. The Widex Community Giveback Day provided our practice with just what we needed.” 

Once enrolled in the Giveback Day program, Dr. Palmer tasked her staff with suggesting one patient they felt would be a fit. They unanimously agreed that Hardee would benefit from the free pair of Widex Moment™ hearing aids, upgrading from the single Widex Evoke hearing aid he had worn for nearly five years. 

“I’ve unfortunately seen so many patients with one hearing aid, when they really could benefit from two,” Dr. Palmer continued. “Gerald was one such case and his hearing aids were also getting older, so Widex provided us with a great chance to help him get equipped with the latest in hearing technology and performance.” 

The Element of Surprise 

The next step was contacting Hardee and, instead of outright telling him he’d been selected, Dr. Palmer and her team wanted to make things a bit more special. So, they called Hardee and asked if he would come in for what they were calling his annual hearing exam. His hearing was re-examined, but it was anything but routine. 

“We surprised him with the new devices and let him know he was selected to participate in the Widex Community Giveback Day Program. Gerald is a man of few words, but he was very grateful. He was immediately blown away by the differences he experienced with two hearing aids versus one. It was truly a ‘wow’ moment.” 

Looking Forward to More

According to Dr. Palmer, Clayton Audiology will continue to check-in with Hardee and provide follow-up appointments as their service to a loyal member of their audiology family. Her team was extremely pleased with the entire process and they encourage other HCPs around the country to participate in the next Widex Community Giveback Day. 

“A significant part of our mission at Clayton Audiology is to give back to our community,” Dr. Palmer concluded. “The Widex Community Giveback Day is a wonderful opportunity to make a difference in the lives of people that need it most. Widex made it so easy for us to participate. It’s truly a no brainer for any HCP looking to make a difference.”

For more information on Widex, click here. For more information on Clayton Audiology, click here.  

About Widex
At Widex we believe in a world where there are no barriers to communication; a world where people interact freely, effortlessly, and confidently. With sixty years’ experience developing state-of-the-art technology, we provide hearing solutions that are easy to use, seamlessly integrated in daily life and enable people to hear naturally. As one of the world’s leading hearing aid producers, our products are sold in more than one hundred countries, and we employ 4,000 people worldwide.

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