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Can You Hear Me?

Amy’s Story

Amy was born with a hearing loss in western South Dakota. She did not receive appropriate early intervention nor testing due to a lack of access to audiology diagnostic and rehabilitation services. Audiologist Paul Brueggeman was able to appropriately identify her hearing loss at almost six years of age. Even though her mother suspected Amy had a hearing loss soon after birth, Amy did not get any appropriate services or help for her hearing loss for multiple reasons.

In South Dakota and much of rural America, there is an issue with appropriate access to audiology services due to the vast geography and the lack of pediatric audiologists. Amy did not pass a newborn hearing screening.  Her physician did not feel a referral was appropriate for further specialized testing of her hearing. He felt that her lack of hearing was due to  ear infections.  Ultimately it was discovered there was permanent hearing loss in both ears.speech

Amy’s mother had always felt that Amy had a hearing loss. She knew this due to her speech patterns, her inability to hear soft sounds, and because of her difficulty hearing conversational speech. Paul saw Amy at an outreach clinic and was able to help this family find the appropriate resources to help Amy. She was fit with appropriate hearing aids in both ears.  She now enjoys her new world of sound. The equipment that made her success possible is not readily available, especially for children in rural South Dakota.  In Amy’s case, Paul had brief access to the type of equipment needed to make a successful diagnosis and treatment plan.

Your help is desired in making this access available to all children of South Dakota whenever they need it.  Through the generosity of the Children’s Care Hospital and School Auxiliary as well as the Board of Directors, your gift will be matched dollar for dollar up to $25,000.  Give before August 31, and double the impact of your gift!  Click here to donate online.

Needs Are Addressed

Children’s Care Hospital & School offers comprehensive diagnostic evaluation and screening methods to help assess the conditions of a child’s hearing, regardless of age or developmental/neurodevelopmental state.  Children’s Care helps physicians, parents, and educators with answers when questions arise about a child’s hearing sensitivity and listening abilities.cover_picture

There is a gap in comprehensive audiology services available for pediatric populations who are difficult to behaviorally test. Many service providers in the state are doing the best they can with out-of-date equipment that does not function reliably and properly anymore.  Children’s Care has the clinical expertise and network of contacts with professionals to make the greatest impact on the largest number of children across the state offering them state of the art audiology services.

It has been found that children with even a minimal degree of hearing loss (20dBHL) have a one in three chance of failing one grade due to the academic impact of hearing loss.  These are the children who fall through the cracks; children with hearing loss that goes undetected by simple hearing screenings.  New state-of-the-art audiology equipment would put Children’s Care at the forefront of meeting these children’s needs.

There are also populations of children who are low-functioning or medically fragile where traditional screening techniques do not give accurate results.  These children may also not be able to utilize traditional screening methods because they cannot or should not be sedated for certain audiology tests.  This new equipment would give these children an opportunity to have their hearing properly evaluated and hearing aids appropriately fit.

The Audiology Challenge helps purchase equipment

MA-42 Portable Audiometer with sound field kit- this equipment will allow the audiologist to provide outreach services to schools and reservation clinics.  The portable audiometer will also be used for booth evaluations that require the audiologist to be in the room with the child.

NOAH software and HI-PRO interface box­ – this equipment will provide the ability to appropriately fit and adjust hearing aids for children.  It will allow for better seamless care of residential students who need programming of their hearing aids and will be used in the outpatient and outreach settings as well.  It will expand outreach and outpatient services.

AudioScan RM5009-SL – this is a state-of-the-art hearing aid verification and testing system designed specifically for the pediatric population.  This equipment enables the audiologist to accurately measure the hearing aid gain and output so that hearing aids and FM systems are fit correctly for that child.

VivoSonic Integrity V500 Auditory Electrophysiological Assessment and Hearing Screening Equipment with wireless testing interface – this equipment will allow Auditory Brainstem Response (ABR) testing for children who cannot or should not be sedated for this testing. An ABR is an assessment that introduces clicks and tones into the ear.  We record and analyze the electrical activity of the brainstem response, then we look at the lowest level we see a response.  This tells us the lowest level at which the child can hear.  We then present the clicks and tones at different pitches to assess a range of hearing ability.  This approach works well with the difficult to test population where we can not achieve definitive responses with traditional audiometry.  It allows a child to be moving around while it is recording the neural response from the brainstem (in response to sound).  It is important for accurate audiology testing of low-functioning and medically complex children.

Welch Allyn 3.5v Halogen Diagnostic Otoscope­ – the current diagnostic otoscope Children’s Care uses does not hold a charge long enough to perform accurately.  A new, high-quality, halogen otoscope will allow the audiologist to meet needs better.  This diagnostic otoscope comes with a rechargeable handle and we request one replacement bulb.

Improvements to current audiology spaces and additional equipment – in order to properly use the equipment and best serve children, updates and adjustments to the current audiology booth and testing spaces needs to occur.  Additional pieces of equipment will be needed as the program develops and new patients are served.

Our Goal

The total challenge goal is $50,000.  Join the Children’s Care Hospital and School Auxiliary and Board of Directors in meeting this goal.  They will match your gift dollar for dollar up to $25,000 to double the impact of your gift! Click here to help us raise the monies needed to help our children.

To learn more about our Audiology Program and Dr. Paul Brueggeman, click here.

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Every day I find myself smiling as I walk down the hallway; I just cannot get over the fact that this is my job. The smiles and laughter that comes from the students I work with rejuvenate my commitment to them and makes my soul feel whole. The thing I enjoy most about working at Children's Care, is knowing that I am helping to make a difference in the lives of every child and family I work with, and that makes me feel like I'm leading a purpose driven life.
– Robert B., Teacher