The Speech & Hearing Center recently received Innovation/Capacity-building funding through our Community Investment process for Telehealth Audiology Programming. Through this program, The Center was able to treat a 28-year-old woman with a congenital hearing loss, who had never before been able to afford hearing aids. Prior, she could not help her kids with their homework and was leading a very isolated life due to her hearing loss. The woman’s native language is a small regional dialect from Central America that is neither Portuguese or Spanish. Luckily, her family services advocate from Cedar Hill Head Start was able to translate for her and brought her to all her appointments.
Knowing the difference hearing aids would make in her quality of life, The Speech & Hearing Center stepped in to help. Their audiologist, Ursula Chaplin, found a hearing aid on our shelf that would work for her. Despite not being the latest device available, it was still high functioning, so it provided the assistance the patient needed to overcome her hearing loss. The Center donated the devices, and Ursula donated her time for the fitting and follow up appointments.
Remotely, due to COVID-19, they were able to instruct her how to pair the devices with her smartphone. They were also able to help her through troubleshooting phone and app connectivity.
“It’s amazing watching the life of someone with a hearing impairment change when their hearing is restored,” said Taylor Bostwick, president and CEO of The Speech & Hearing Center. “We see community members every day transition from struggling to understand and connect with the world around them to living richer, more fulfilling lives. It’s an honor to play a role in that process.”
The Speech & Hearing Center is Chattanooga’s only nonprofit medical practice specializing in enhancing communication and enriching lives. Since 1953, the organization has fulfilled its mission of improving quality of life through better communication by providing audiology, speech, occupational and physical therapy services to individuals of all ages and income.
As a nonprofit, the Center ensures all individuals with speech or hearing impairments have access to the services and equipment they need, regardless of their ability to pay. For those who can self-pay, a portion of every service or product purchase assists those in our community who would otherwise not be able to afford therapy or hearing devices. The Center is the only resource of its kind in the area and plays a pivotal role by minimizing the effects of communication disorders on education, employment and social wellbeing.
To read more success stories and learn about the impact made in the Greater Chattanooga community, see our impact report.