Brevard County Legislative Delegation
Advocacy for Audiology
Advocacy for Children with Hearing Loss
On September 25th, I had the privilege of speaking at the Brevard Legislative Delegation at Port Canaveral about a House Bill (HB125) that we would like to have our State Representatives sponsor.
Below is a copy of the speech I prepared:
Hello. I’m Dr. Liz White, I’m an Audiologist and have been practicing for 14 years. Today, I have with me: Kristi Owens, her 14 year old daughter, Madison and her 11-week-old son, Parker Owens . As you can see, Parker is wearing bilateral hearing aids. He was diagnosed with hearing loss when he was 2 days old. Madison was diagnosed with hearing loss around 2.5 years old and was fit with hearing aids around that time.
I’d like to thank Representative Altman, Representative Fine and Representative Plasencia for co-sponsoring legislation in the past to support children with hearing loss and also a thank you to Senator Mayfield for voting for the hearing aid bill for the last session.
Children with hearing loss have a narrow neurological window to develop spoken language if that is the communication platform the caregivers choose. Timely access to appropriate hearing technology is crucial. If children have appropriate access to sound and AUDITORY ORAL early intervention, the child will typically enter mainstream classrooms before entering first grade. Delaying access by even a few years causes permanent neurological changes that can make the development of proficient listening and spoken language difficult or impossible.
Kristi’s daughter, Madison, was not diagnosed with hearing loss until she was 2.5 years old. That’s 1000 days of life that she was missing spoken language. Our language development starts at day 1. She repeated first grade because of these struggles. Today, she is doing well as an 8th grader in a private school.
Parker was fit when he was 8 weeks old. Early access to spoken language is crucial. Due to growth, his earmolds will have to be replaced every couple of months.
We ask that you consider co-sponsoring early intervention funding and insurance coverage for hearing aids for children.
And we thank you for allowing us to speak today.