TARLAC CITY: About 900 Tarlaqueños, received the “gifts of hearing” from the US-based Starkey Hearing Foundation (SHF) during its two-day mission concluded on Wednesday. Held at the Central Luzon Doctors Hospital Educational Institution (CLDHEI) here, Starkey founders Bill and Tani Austin led their 32-member delegation from Minnesota, USA, in fitting state-of-the-art hearing aids to Tarlac residents with hearing difficulties of varying degree. Patients have been identified last June at the Capitol’s DiwangTarlac. Some 450 patients had their hearing aids fitted on November 14, and another 450 on November 15, according to Maria Consorcia Lim-Quizon, SHF coordinator for Tarlac. Volunteer mission partners who assisted the Austins include Quizon’s former classmates from the College of the Holy Spirit-Tarlac Batch ’76 and the Don Bosco Academy-Tarlac Batch ’76, Assumption College alumni and friends, Northern Luzon Command troops, 4th year CLDHEI nursing students, and the family of Pin Cojuangco-Guingona with son Pico, 19. Austin and his wife Tani travel the world, changing lives with the SHF team in more than 100 countries by distributing more than 100,000 hearing aids each year to spread the gift of hearing around the globe. The SHF’s target is to distribute one million hearing aids in 10 years. It trains partners and community-based health workers; identifies, screens, and gives primary ear-care services to potential hearing aid candidates; and provides after-care information and services, among other activities.