Children’s Hearing Help fund

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New Donation Box on Driver’s License Renewal
On May 24th Governor Bush signed a new option into law for low income
children to have access to better hearing. A significant barrier to
successful intervention outcomes has become very apparent since the
implementation of the enactment of Florida’s Universal Newborn Hearing
Screening Law Statute 383.815.

Following diagnosis, it is not unusual for
some infants to experience delays of 6 months or more prior to hearing
evaluation and hearing aid fitting due to a variety of issues primarily
related to funding and/or parental uncertainty of how to proceed. The new
law authorized the Department of Motor Vehicles to include a $1 donation
check-off box on every driver’s license renewal form that allows funds to be
collected to aid families who don’t have the means to pay for hearing aids
for children who have been found to have hearing loss.
The Children’s Hearing Help Fund (CHHF) will be used to provide assistance
for qualifying families with minor children, from newborns to eighteen years
of age for services such as hearing evaluations, loaner hearing devices,
permanent hearing devices or the ongoing maintenance and replacement of the
devices if necessary until the child reaches eighteen years of age. Hearing
loss is the most common birth defect with three out of every 1000 newborns
being found to have a permanent hearing problem that causes them to be at
high risk for developing communication delays unless early help is provided
to their families. Florida can expect approximately 600 new children to be
confirmed as hearing impaired annually. Approximately 37% of families have
insurance and/or financial resources however insurance rarely covers even a
portion of hearing aids and most families with young children cannot readily
afford to pay for hearing aids, each of which can cost as much as a
refrigerator ($1000-$3000) and may need to be replaced every 3 years.
Approximately 43% of children will have Medicaid coverage that could be
applied to meet the cost of permanent amplification devices and an
additional 20% are found to be from financially needy families that have no
resources available. Therefore many families are faced with trying to
purchase expensive hearing aids, typically 5-6 times before the child
becomes an adult.
Charitable funding sources for families to turn to for assistance with
purchasing amplification for children have historically been very limited.
arly intervention and quality education is necessary to prevent
developmental delays in language and learning. The Children’s Hearing Help
Fund will exist in order to provide the necessary funding to enable children
from financially needy families to obtain amplification for their children
(loaner or permanent) within 30 days of recommendation for hearing aid
fitting, when no other funding options are available.
The Children’s Hearing Help Fund is administered by the Sertoma Speech &
Hearing Foundation of Florida, Inc.
For more information contact: Craig McCart, Executive Director
1-866-999-2443 or visit Website – <>
For more information about the HEARING AID LOAN BANK FOR INFANTS AND
TODDLERS please <>
click here to download the pdf:
* Nationally, three out of every 1000 newborns have a hearing loss. It
is the most common birth defect. * Even mild hearing loss or hearing loss
in only one ear, if
undetected, has substantial detrimental consequences. Research shows that
children with hearing loss in one ear are 10 times as likely to be held back
at least one grade level compared to matched group of children with normal
hearing. Research notes that children identified with hearing loss at birth
are, by the time they enter school, one to two years developmentally ahead
of their hearing impaired peers who were not diagnosed until after they were
six months old. * Before universal newborn hearing screening the average
age at which
children were diagnosed with hearing loss was 2.5 years. Very important
speech-language development occurs significantly earlier and these children
frequently required intensive special instruction throughout all their
school years. * Through identification of hearing loss in the first 3
months and by
working with the parents and caregivers to communicate effectively with
their child thereby preventing delays in language, cognitive and social
development these early identified children have the opportunity to develop
on par with unimpaired peers. Without amplification and early intervention
services by 6 months of age, lifelong delays in communication and learning
may be expected. * By the time a child with hearing loss graduates from
high school,
more than $400,000 per child can be saved in special education costs if the
child is identified early and given appropriate educational, medical, and
audiological services. * Only by continuing consistent use of appropriate
and well
functioning amplification, can children with hearing loss continue to have
the opportunity to access teacher instruction in classrooms using their
remaining hearing. When the hearing aids of a school-age child need to be
replaced or repaired, every day that the child is unable to hear optimally
can be like a day they are absent from school!
Information and statistics courtesy of the National Center for Hearing
Assessment and Management – Utah State University (NCHAM) or the National
Institute on Deafness and Communicative Disorders (NIDCD).

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