ENID — Making lives richer
Children with speech and hearing issues also may lose out on values and skills that impact their everyday lives if they do not receive treatment, not to mention self-confidence.
“It’s going to make their life easier and richer, as well as their family’s lives,” Ball said. “What we do with a 4-year-old, or for any age, makes an impact on what they are doing.”
The earlier a problem can be diagnosed, the better, Ball said. Newborn babies undergo hearing tests and sometimes fail. If they do, Hedges is one of the places recommended for testing because of up-to-date equipment.
“We have some less intrusive forms of testing,” Ball said.
“A child may be fussing and moving and not paying attention, and we still can get an accurate read on their hearing. Our youngest client we’ve ever tested is 2 weeks old. Our audiologist is wonderful.”
Catching problems early
Catching a hearing problem early is essential for a child’s development. Ball said research shows children who have a problem diagnosed and receive therapy by 2 or 21⁄2 have a good chance of entering school at the same level as their peers.
Ball said a child who finally can hear after having problems can witness a life-changing experience.
“All of a sudden they can hear their cat purr, they can hear their mom in the other room, they can hear their teacher when they are in the back of the classroom,” she said.
Not just for the young
Ball said hearing is just as important for adults. Those who have hearing problems later in life often tend to withdraw.
“You miss out on a lot of vital contact with your family or people at your church, no matter what your age is,” she said.
Ball said being fitted with a hearing aid isn’t like it was five years ago.
“Hearing aids have changed so much,” she said. “As much as cell phones have changed in the last five to 10 years, so have hearing aids.
“You don’t buy hearing aids in the small medium or large anymore. The advances in hearing aid technology is just incredible.”
She said some people buy a hearing aid to match their hair color, and some kids put soccer balls or decals on them.
“They want people to know it’s pretty cool equipment,” she said.
Hedges is a non-profit entity, and is a United Way agency. Ball said funds also are generated through speech therapy and hearing aids. Grants and occasional fundraisers also help support the center.
For information about Hedges, 2615 E. Randolph, call 234-3734.