Thanks to Starkey mission, Super Bowl was super for Hoosiers with hearing loss

INDIANAPOLIS—The New York Giants weren’t the only big winners here during Super Bowl week. Also coming out on top were 235 hard-of-hearing children and adults from the Indianapolis area. That’s because they received the gift of hearing during the Starkey Hearing Foundation’s third annual Super Bowl Week Hearing Mission held February 3 at the city’s SportZone restaurant.

An all-star lineup of football and entertainment legends volunteered for the mission. The gridiron celebrities included Jim McMahon, the retired quarterback who led the Chicago Bears to their first Super Bowl championship; Joe DeLamielleure, a former Buffalo Bills offensive guard who was elected the National Football League Hall of Fame; former Bears running back Matt Forte; Tommie Harris, a defensive end with the San Diego Chargers; and Mike Gaines, who was a tight end with the Houston Texans.

The country music superstar Garth Brook headlined the list of entertainers, who also included Justin Hines, singer/songwriter from Canada. Another famous participant was Heather Whitestone, who in 1995 became the first deaf woman to win the crown as Miss America.

The celebrity volunteers joined Bill Austin, founder of the Starkey Foundation, and his team of experts in fitting local residents ranging in age from 3 to 92 with custom-made hearing aids. The Super Bowl Hearing Mission was one of dozens of missions conducted each year by the foundation domestically and internationally in pursuit of its goal to distribute 1 million hearing aids by 2020 “so the world may hear.”