HEARING LOSS: IDENTIFYING AND TREATING

A Story of Hearing Loss
“My family is so thankful for the experience, knowledge, and guidance of the staff and students, as well as the available technology, at Augustana’s Center for Speech, Language, and Hearing (ACCSLH). If it weren’t for their expertise and pro-activity, my son’s hearing loss may never have been diagnosed or properly treated,” writes Melissa Garcia, mother of Alex. The Garcia family lives in Moline, IL and Melissa works from home as a freelance graphic designer through Garcia Graphics.
 
“We originally brought Alex into (ACCSLH) for speech therapy upon the recommendation of his Pre-K teacher. He was lisping and mispronouncing sounds. He had always passed the general hearing screenings at school, but ACCSLH provided a much more thorough, advanced test. Alex was soon diagnosed with moderate high-frequency hearing loss in both ears. The reason he was lisping and mispronouncing sounds was simply because he wasn’t hearing them!”
 
“I am grateful for the informed, knowledgeable experts at ACCSLH. Despite a local ENT [Ear, Nose and Throat specialist] telling us NOT to fit Alex with hearing aids (he said kids would lose them or wouldn’t wear them) the ACCSLH staff knew of, discussed with us, and stressed the importance of early intervention on language, learning, and social development.
 
“Ann at ACCSLH fit Alex with a loaner set of hearing aids as well as an FM system for him to use at school immediately, while we worked with insurance on ordering Alex his own permanent set. [An FM system is a wireless assistive hearing devices that enhance the use of hearing aids, cochlear implants and also assists people who are hard of hearing but do not wear hearing aids, in particular over distance and in noisy environments.] 
 
“A professor at ACCSLH coordinated a teacher in-service at his school to instruct the teachers about the importance and proper use of his FM system. She even assisted us in enrolling in a sign language course. Alex continued his speech therapy with the staff and students of ACCSLH. They customized his program by incorporating ‘hearing loss therapy’ activities, so Alex could practice and feel comfortable with being his own advocate in living with his hearing loss. 
 

The Garcia Family

 
“Alex is now 9-years-old, lisp-free, and chose red and black ‘super hero’ colors for his hearing aids! He has since ‘graduated’ from his program at ACCSLH, but we continue to see them for the adjustment of his hearing aids and servicing of his FM system.
 
“Living with hearing loss has opened a whole new world to my family, and I am forever grateful for the resources and guidance they gave us. I know they are genuinely passionate about helping kids and truly care about them and their success. They improved my son’s life in countless, immeasurable ways, and I will be forever grateful! THANK YOU!!!!!”
 
 Melissa credits his teacher for identifying some concerns so they could get Alex tested. She is grateful for Augustana’s clinic for correctly identifying the specific needs of her child. She suggests that teachers and doctors are often the front line to help parents become aware of hearing loss indicators. 
 
Identifying Hearing Loss in Your Child
Signs of hearing loss in babies: 
  • Does not startle at loud noises.
  • Does not turn to the source of a sound after 6 months of age.
  • Does not say single words, such as “dada” or “mama” by 1 year of age.
  • Turns head when he or she sees you but not if you only call out his or her name. This sometimes is mistaken for not paying attention or just ignoring, but could be the result of a partial or complete hearing loss.
  • Seems to hear some sounds but not others.

Signs of hearing loss in children:

  • Speech is delayed.
  • Speech is not clear.
  • Does not follow directions. This sometimes is mistaken for not paying attention or just ignoring, but could be the result of a partial or complete hearing loss.
  • Often says, “Huh?”
  • Turns the TV volume up too high.

These indicators and more information is available on the CDC website

Alex’s story emphasizes how lucky we are in the Quad Cities that The Augustana College Center for Speech and Hearing offers hearing and speech screenings for clients of all ages — from infants to the elderly.

At the Augustana College Center for Speech, Language and Hearing an audiology booth assists the talented professional team in testing for hearing loss.

Contact Augustana’s Center for Speech, Language, and Hearing (ACCSLH)
The Audiology Clinic at Augustana College invites you to come visit. They provide free hearing screenings to anyone in our community all year.

Hearing services they provide include:

  • Hearing testing for all ages
  • Hearing aid fittings
  • Assessment of Auditory processing disorders
  • Newborn hearing screening
  • Fitting of hearing protection and custom earmolds
  • Assistive listening device demonstration and dispensing
  • Aural rehabilitation
  • Tinnitus evaluation and management

Please contact the Augustana Center for Speech, Language, and Hearing for an appointment via email [email protected] or by calling 309-794-7358.

Especially because May is Better Hearing and Speech Month we hope you’ll take advantage of the opportunities right here in the Quad Cities to get any hearing concerns addressed.

While most of us are spending our days with little ones, I know many are also taking care of parents or grandparents. The Augustana Audiology Clinic is for all ages, so if you have older family members or friends that need assistance, be sure to check it out services for them, too. They accept Medicare and Medicaid as well as private pay.  

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