Central Indiana – Hear Indiana
…A testimonial from Naomi Horton of Hear Indiana
“With today’s technology, most deaf and hard of hearing children can achieve age-appropriate listening and spoken language skills. Without working hearing aids, however, children with hearing loss quickly fall behind in school. A pair of hearing aids retails for approximately $5,000, and a child with hearing loss needs upgraded technology every 3-5 years. To add to this difficult situation, private insurance companies very rarely cover the cost of hearing aids. It did not take long for Hear Indiana to realize the critical need for a program which could give these special children a sound start in life. In 2013, Hear Indiana received $25,000 from BarnRaisers to provide hearing technology for children in need, and the Gift of Sound program was born.
“Hear Indiana’s Gift of Sound ensures that every child who needs hearing aids will be able to receive them, regardless of income level. As of April 7, 2015, forty-one children have received hearing technology through this amazing program, and that number is growing every day…
“Hearing aids and cochlear implants allow children with hearing loss, even profound deafness, to learn to listen, speak, sing, and thrive in the mainstream. Unlike children who attend residential institutions, Hear Indiana’s children are not surrounded by the signing Deaf Community and they are often the only child in their school with hearing aids or other assistive technology. They often report feeling alone, neither hearing nor deaf.
“Alex is a perfect example…. Alex attended a school for the deaf until 5th grade, primarily communicating with his friends at that school in American Sign Language. When he began at his local public school, he found it difficult to make friends. Alex even refused to wear an FM system (a microphone that amplifies the teacher’s voice) because the system was bulky, and it made him look different. Things are different now….
“Thanks to the Gift of Sound program (and support from BarnRaisers), Alex has a new pair of high-powered digital hearing aids which are much smaller and more discreet then his older aids. Alex works hard in school, because he wants to become an aerospace engineer. Thanks to his hearing aids, he can still hear his teacher from the back of classroom. He is less fatigued after a day of lecturers, and his speech is much clearer now that he can hear himself better. His mom reports that his self-confidence has soared, he’s making new friends, and becoming more social. All thanks to the Gift of Sound!
“Our program is also changing the lives of younger children. In Abigail’s case, her parents were not aware that she had a hearing loss until Abigail turned four. Although she has a mild hearing loss in both ears, she had never worn hearing aids. Children with mild hearing loss are twice as likely to repeat a grade, and Abigail’s school district was already noticing some significant educational and social challenges due to her untreated hearing loss. “Abigail’s parents were shocked when they learned that most insurance (including theirs) doesn’t cover hearing aids. They reached out to Hear Indiana for help.
“Prior to receiving hearing aids, her teacher reported that Abigail was very disconnected during learning times and often spoke too loudly. Thanks to the Gift of Sound, her progress has been phenomenal. Her teacher wrote to us to say, “Since receiving hearing aids her participation has skyrocketed, her voice levels are now appropriate, and she is socializing with children her age appropriately. Honestly, this is one of the best gifts someone has given her. Thank you for giving Abigail the opportunity to learn at her very best potential.”
“When given a pre-kindergarten test recently, Abigail scored a whopping 549 when students her age typically score below 400. She has even mastered alliterations and rhyming! Her mother said, “It makes me tear up. I’m speechless when I think about it!”
“Together with BarnRaisers, Hear Indiana strives to ensure that children who experience hearing loss have the opportunity to communicate, learn, and thrive independently through the use of spoken language. Research has shown that deaf and hard of hearing children who use spoken language to communicate have improved quality of life. With appropriate amplification, these children are more likely to read on grade level, graduate from high school, and attend institutions of higher learning or find work. Meanwhile untreated hearing loss costs our society $1 million per deaf or hard of hearing child.
“The inaugural gift from BarnRaisers will continue to pay dividends for years and years to come.”