MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The Starkey Hearing Foundation announced it will temporarily halt its U.S. and international programs due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Eden Prairie-based charity has been providing free hearing aids and other hearing health care services in more than 100 countries since 1984.

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Without the ability to travel or gather in large groups, the foundation president and board chair Richard Brown says they are unable to do their work safely.

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“This was a very difficult decision, but after considering the challenges currently in place, we felt this was the most responsible decision for the organization and the safety of everyone involved in our work,” Brown said.

The foundation’s “Summer Sounds” annual benefit — scheduled for July — has been canceled. And once it’s safe to travel and gather in groups, the foundation says it will reassess how to return to normal operations.

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