For more than 50 years Hedges Regional Speech and Hearing Center has helped adults and children from throughout northwest Oklahoma with speech and hearing issues.
Its mission is to provide speech, language and hearing therapy. By working with community professionals, Hedges is committed to improving communications skills for those in need in northwest Oklahoma.
Executive Director Carmen Ball said Hedges is the only full-service speech and hearing center in northwest Oklahoma.
“The other day I had someone tell me we only serve children,” Ball said. “Probably half our clients are children. The other 50 percent is split evenly between the 21- to 61-year-olds and the senior group.”
She said the youngest client fitted with hearing aids was 3 years old and the oldest client was 105 years old. Clients often are referred by a doctor, or a school, and are cared for by one of the center’s five speech/language pathologists.
“If we have a child referred by doctor or parent for speech, the very first thing we do is check their hearing,” Ball said. “If there’s no hearing issue then we continue on with what might be the problem.”
5 heads are better than 1
She said having five pathologists is great because they work together on addressing a client’s problem and often come up with creative solutions.
“I am amazed at how creative our speech pathologists are,” Ball said. “They have done things that integrate into the child’s life.
“One of our speech pathologists made sure the mom brought the child’s spelling work from school. While they worked on spelling they worked on (pronouncing) the words.”
Those with hearing or speech problems are less likely to communicate and be involved with their environments. Ball said it is tremendously important for children to be able to hear and speak.
“In every portion of a child’s life they’re expected to communicate” she said. “If they have issues hearing, or with speech, it may mean they don’t speak up in class as much or with their family. They lose a valuable part of the human experience.”