Deaf actress Marlee Matlin was in Africa this week to help the Starkey Hearing Foundation build better lives for the hearing impaired by providing hearing instruments to those in need.

Along with a number of football stars, Marlee has embarked on a 24-day mission to Africa to deliver more than 22,000 state-of-art hearing devices to children and adults across the continent.

“I have been a friend and supporter of the Starkey Hearing Foundation for about eight years now and believe whole-heartedly in their work to bring the gift of hearing to those who would normally not have access to this level of hearing care, which is essential for one to realize their true and full potential,” said Marlee Matlin. “I have participated in previous hearing missions, and look forward to joining them on this second trip to Africa where there is such a great need for what Starkey is doing.”

Football stars – “PROS FOR AFRICA” – participating in the hearing mission to Africa include Larry Fitzgerald Jr. (Arizona Cardinals), Adrian Peterson (Minnesota Vikings), brothers Vernon Davis (San Francisco 49ers), and Vontae Davis (Miami Dolphins), Roy Williams (Cincinnati Bengals), Bryant McKinnie (Minnesota Vikings), Tommie Harris (former Chicago Bears), Gerald McCoy (Tampa Bay Buccaneers), Derrick Morgan (Tennessee Titans), and Santonio Holmes (New York Jets).

“The Starkey Hearing Foundation’s mission is to bring the gift of hearing to those in need that they may be able to realize their full potential,” said Bill Austin, Starkey Hearing Foundation. “We thank PROS FOR AFRICA, Marlee Matlin, and our sponsors and partners in helping to realize this year’s mission to Africa where we can make a tremendous difference in a child’s quality of life and future just by opening them up to a new world of sound.”

The Starkey Hearing Foundation’s Africa Hearing Mission is one of dozens of missions conducted each year both domestically and internationally. All missions include the distribution of hearing aids and batteries,custom fittings, audio testing, and counseling on how to care for the devices. This is the Foundation’s second mission to Africa in two years. In 2010, the Starkey Hearing Foundation Africa Mission spanned 30 days and covered 14 cities across five countries including Kenya, South Africa, Botswana, Tanzania, and Mozambique.

The Starkey Hearing Foundation is striving to change the social consciousness of hearing and hearing loss prevention. Hearing loss affects one in 10 Americans, and 63 million children worldwide, yet many do not have access to the hearing devices that can help correct that disability. Each year, the Foundation delivers more than 100,000 hearing aids through hearing missions in countries stretching from the U.S. to Vietnam. Since 2000, the Foundation has supplied nearly 500,000 hearing aids to people in need and is striving to achieve its goal of distributing over one million free hearing aids in this decade.

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