early intervention For disadvantaged children
The national Early Hearing Detection and Intervention (EHDI) recommends children with hearing loss receive hearing aids by six months of age. For children diagnosed later, it is equally imperative that the amplification process is initiated as soon as the hearing loss is confirmed. Unfortunately, not every family can afford hearing aids. The Hearing Aid Loaner Bank strives to help these families in need.
Place & Year
Project PartnersFriends of Tennessee’s Babies with Special Needs (FRIENDS)
Ideally, the process of fitting a child with their first hearing aid should be done quickly after the hearing loss has been diagnosed. In reality, many clinics do not have affordable options for families who find the cost to be a barrier. Furthermore, the process to obtain hearing aids through insurance programs can mean that the child must go without amplification while waiting on approval.
The consequence is quite severe; the child might miss the critical period of language development. Research indicates that children identified with hearing loss who begin services before 6 months old develop language – spoken or signed, on par with their hearing peers. Those, who start later, are at a disadvantage.
Loan hearing aids as long as needed
The Friends of Tennessee’s Babies with Special Needs (FRIENDS) addresses this critical problem. The non-profit organization founded in 1995 provides services to Tennessee children birth to three with hearing loss. The children are recommended by the Tennessee Early Intervention System (TEIS), a federally mandated program providing service coordination. TEIS submits the files of children in financial needwho have been diagnosed and hearing aid fitting has been recommended by an audiologist. With the Hearing Aid Loaner Bank, FRIENDS assists those children in obtaining amplification as soon as possible after being identified until they are approved receive hearing aids through other funding resources. Their team of audiologists tests and fits children enrolled in the early intervention system with hearing aids – all free of charge.
The Hear the World Foundation supports FRIENDS by donating new technology to the Hearing Aid Loaner Bank to fit children birth to three with all degrees of hearing loss.