Pacific University’s new Hillsboro ear clinic is holding an essay contest for a chance to receive a free pair of $6,000 hearing aids.

The goal is to provide someone with this gift who does not qualify for other hearing aid programs. Pacific EarClinic director Nancy Bowen-Hicks said the winner will be someone in need both physically and financially.

Medicaid only funds one hearing aid for adults, and two for children, but there are lots of people who fall between the cracks who are not really covered,” Bowen-Hicks said. “Medicare doesn’t cover hearing aids at all. They cover testing, but not the devices themselves.”

She said it is not always obvious when someone has hearing problems.

“Sometimes they appear as though they are aloof, or not able to pay attention, when they are really not able to hear,” she said. “It can significantly change someone’s life to be able to hear on the job, to be able to hear their children at home.”

The hope is also that the contest will bring community awareness to the clinic, which opened on October 28.

The clinic has four clinicians who see patients on a regular basis, while five other faculty members help coach interns who are completing their doctoral training.

According to The Oregonian, audiology services are available for all ages, which include hearing evaluations, balance and dizziness evaluations, and hearing instrument services.

To enter or nominate someone for the contest, email a written essay to earclinic@pacificu.edu or mail to 333 SE 7th Ave. in Hillsboro’s Tuality Medical Plaza.

The essay should describe why you or someone you know should receive a set of free hearing aids. There is no word limit.

Include your full name and phone number. Submissions will be accepted until February 5. A winner will be selected by February 11.

Angel is a Journalism student, finishing her last undergrad year at Corban University. She digs listening to The Black Keys, reading old smelly books, drinking cappuccinos, collecting quotes, and writing about grace. She would love to start her own print/online publication that would document people's stories and experiences.