Connect to Life is their tag line and very much their mission. After touring their downtown Manhattan facilities, it became clear to me just how the Center for Hearing and Communication connects the people with hearing loss to life. For their clients, many of which are children, it is a place of opportunity and inspiration. It’s a cheerful setting with hallway walls filled with pictures of smiling children and their artwork. Behind every door, devoted staff works hard improving the quality of life for people with hearing loss by providing the highest level of clinical proficiency and technical skill in the hearing healthcare field.
After an extensive assessment, each person that comes to the Center for Hearing and Communication is provided with comprehensive services that address all their individual needs including communication and socialization skills. I had the pleasure of meeting and observing 2 1/2 year old Annabella during her speech and language therapy session. Her mom sat close by watching while Fara, her speech pathologist worked with her at the little table and chairs. I was able to speak with Fara after our initial meeting to better understand the work and techniques used during their sessions as well as the kind of hearing technology used by Annabella.
Fara Augustover explained to me- “Annabella was diagnosed at birth with a hearing loss for which she wears bilateral (both ears) pink hearing aids. Annabella and I are always working on her auditory skills, first and foremost. I monitor her articulation, language, and vocabulary as well. For the particular session you saw, we were reading “Sam Who Never Forgets” by Eve Rice, a book about a zookeeper who always remembers to feed all of his animals the food they love most. We were targeting learning new animal vocabulary (e.g. ostrich, seal, etc.), as well as using auditory memory to pair the correct animal with the correct color and type of food (e.g. The seal ate blue fish, The zebra ate yellow grains, etc.)”
The average adult waits seven years before confronting their hearing loss. Individuals with hearing loss often feel isolated and depressed. I remember when my grandfather began to lose his hearing. His isolation grew as his hearing loss became more pronounced. No longer able to participate in conversations, he retreated rather than seeking help for his hearing loss. It is because of the Center for Hearing and Communication that people with hearing loss can Connect to Life again.
Fundraising is crucial since client fees only cover a portion of the full cost of therapy. The Center provides services to anyone who is hearing impaired, no matter their ability to pay. They are depending on the generous contributions of their benefactors and sponsors to continue offering the best care to everyone who needs it.
The Center for Hearing and Communications is a not-for-profit organization with offices in New York City and Florida. Please visit their website for more information at: www.chchearing.org
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