Custom Hearing Aid Donation Changes Child’s Life
June 1, 2016
For months, five-year-old Sophia was beginning to distance herself socially in school. She became shy, timid and was having difficulty communicating. It wasn’t until she took a test, that her family and teachers soon realized there was more to the story.
The Sioux City Noon Sertoma Club first learned about Sophia and her story from a local audiologist named Mike Sloniker. Sloniker has been an audiologist for 25 years, and owns Siouxland Hearing Healthcare, a private practice in Sioux City, Iowa. Throughout the years, he has formed a close professional relationship with the Sioux City Noon Sertoma Club, and has regularly supported their efforts in the community.
After failing a routine hearing evaluation at school, Sophia was referred to Sloniker’s office for further testing. According to Sloniker, it did not take long for it to become apparent that Sophia had moderate-severe, permanent hearing loss. In addition to the discovery of this new find, she also had an extensive history of middle ear effusion and ear infections that required the placement of tympanostomy tubes. Even after the extensive treatment of her middle ear, Sophia was still left with significant hearing loss. After talking to Sophia’s mother, and adding up the costs, the total amount required for the hearing aids was simply too high to pay out of pocket for Sophia’s family.
According to Sloniker, in order for Sophia to develop healthy speech and communication as an adult, Sophia would need hearing aids. Specifically, she would require hearing aids that would tie into the FM frequency system at her school, so that she could hear, learn and participate in the classroom.
Sloniker decided to recommend Sophia to the Siouxland Noon City Sertoma Club as a candidate for possible hearing aid assistance.
Wayne Mercural, the CELEBRATE SOUND® Chairman of the Sioux City Noon Sertoma Club, and an active member of Sertoma for seven years, said the decision to help her was a “no brainer” for his club.
According to Mercural, Sophia has been the club’s youngest hearing aid recipient so far, but will not be the last. The Sioux City Noon Sertoma Club holds a CELEBRATE SOUND® event annually as a way to continue raising money to help fund hearing aids.
Sophia was fit with the Phonak Sky Q behind-the-ear-hearing aids April 25, 2016. In total, the hearing aids costed around $3,200 for both ears. Sloniker said Sophia’s new hearing aids will help keep her mind healthy, and will also help her achieve developmental markers.
In only a short time, Sophia has already made dramatic social improvements both in, and outside of school.
“Her mother said that she loves to sing now, and has become more social,” Sloniker said. “Even Sophia’s teacher said she is speaking up in class more.”
Mercural said that being able to provide kids with hearing aids, is one of his favorite parts about being involved in Sertoma.
“It has really touched my heart,” Mercural added. “It is very humbling to make a difference. We are always wishing that we can do more.”
Sloniker also concluded by saying that the work of Sertoma does make a difference, and that the community is extremely appreciative of all that they do.
“On behalf of myself, Sophia and her family, I would like to thank the Sertoma Club for their generous participation in helping Sophia, and others just like her.”