Donald Kleindl believes those who are lucky enough to live to 100 are usually the ones most overlooked in regards to their hearing.
So, when Marie Jefferis, who is 101 and hard of hearing, needed new hearing aids, Kleindl, an audioprostologist at Life Hearing and Tinitis Health Center at 923 Del Prado Blvd., made sure she got them free of charge.
Kleindl was there with his son, Donald III, and daughter, Shauna, who are also hearing specialists with Life Hearing. Kleindl said that most hearing loss can only be treated with hearing aids.
Marie Jefferis, 101, tries on her new hearing aids at Life Hearing and Tinitis Health Center at 923 Del Prado Blvd. Wednesday. The company is giving away free hearing aids to anyone who has reached 100 years of age.
"We do custom hearing aids, that's about 70 percent of our business. Harvey (Marie's husband) has hearing aids that go over the ear. Those are mass produced," Kleindl said.
Kleindl started his practice with his father in Illinois, where they built 24 clinics before expanding to Florida six years ago. He and his wife had been frequent visitors for years, so they decided to try their luck here.
Every year, Life Hearing and Tinitis Health Center comes up with some type of promotion where some people get free hearing aids. Often, they were local SWAT teams from either Illinois or Florida, including Collier County, Marco Island and Florida Fish & Wildlife.
"This year with this our 65th year, we wanted to do something totally different. Many people forget about the centenarians, so we decided to give anyone 100 or over free hearing aids," Kleindl said, adding that of the nine centenarians who have taken him up on his offer, many are still very active, taking swimming lessons and still trading stocks.
Harvey found out about the promotion by reading an ad in The Cape Coral Breeze. He told Marie about it and they decided to do it, finding out there was no catch and that it may be too good to be true, but it's also legit.
Kleindl said a procedure like this would usually cost about $3,600, as they are custom made
The goal is for the company to do 65 by the end of the year. With some 65,000 age 100+, that gives him plenty of people to choose from, many of whom are here in Southwest Florida.
Jefferis, who spent most of her life in the Cleveland area before moving to Cape Coral in 1986, credits her longevity to the fact she ice skated well into her 80s.
"We used to take street cars to the skating rink in Cleveland or get a ride from someone. I worked as a long-distance telephone operator for 13 years until he took me away," Marie said, who had five children in six years after marrying in 1948. "Having them was easy. Taking care of them was the hard part."
The hearing aids were a blessing to Harvey, 93, her husband for 69 years, and daughter Elaine, who no longer have to repeat themselves or hear Marie yell to hear herself.
"Everyone will be happier than two bugs in a rug. I've had hearing aids but was never happy. They would come out of my ear and I was so disgusted," Jefferis said. "They were over the ear ones."