Philosopher and humanitarian Albert Schweitzer once said, “The purpose of human life is to serve and to show compassion and the will to help others.” His words and principles have always inspired me to help as many people with hearing loss as I can. When you show compassion and do something good for someone, I believe they will feel compelled to do something good for someone else in return. Caring for others makes the world a better place.
Since co-founding Starkey Hearing Foundation in 1984 with my wife, Tani Austin, it’s been my life’s purpose to empower others by giving them the gift of hearing. Through the incredibly dedicated work of thousands of donors and volunteers, we’ve been able to provide hearing health services for more than 2 million people worldwide.
As Thanksgiving approaches, we are all reminded to be grateful for the blessings we have in life. For some, it might be the love of their jobs, families and hobbies that bring them joy and gratitude. For me, it’s all three. Traveling around the world with my family to provide people with hearing aids has never been a job to me. It’s my life’s calling to be part of this giving circle.
I believe everyone has a purpose and everyone matters. When someone receives hearing aids, they’re not just receiving the ability to hear. They are being shown they’re cared for and that they matter. By allowing people to reconnect back to their lives and loved ones, it empowers them. They may be able to once again pursue passions they weren’t able to previously because of their hearing loss.
Sometimes, patients who receive hearing aids from Starkey Hearing Foundation return years later to volunteer alongside us. Other times, volunteers will return from a life-changing mission and feel compelled to encourage others to give back. Just this year, Tani and I were joined on a hearing mission to Mexico by Scholastic teen reporter Ryan Stoltz. While interviewing guests at a past “So The World May Hear Awards Gala,” he was inspired after hearing countless life-changing stories. Ryan witnessed firsthand the emotion that fills these hearing missions and shared his experience after returning home. Creating this kind of positive butterfly effect of giving is my greatest accomplishment on this earth.
The work done by Starkey Hearing Foundation is so much more than a handout, it’s a hand up. Giving someone the gift of hearing reflects caring and can greatly empower them, positively impacting their families and communities. This Thanksgiving, I am grateful that so many people have been able to reconnect to their purpose through this work. Each special moment of seeing someone hear for the first time has made a lasting impact on me, for which I am eternally thankful. This year, I ask that you take a moment to show someone they are cared for. It may change their whole world.