Meet Randy Murray, a 65 year old from Michigan City, Indiana who was born with bilateral Microtia and Atresia. Randy has struggled most of his life with his hearing loss due to atresia (absence of ear canals). Over the years, as he has gotten older, Randy’s hearing has begun degrading, causing him to struggle even more at work and in social situations. Randy applied for a bone anchored hearing device through his insurance, Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield, but his request for a hearing device was denied. Randy did continue to appeal with his insurance provider and his appeal was denied as well, stating that Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield “cannot say that [a Baha] is medically necessary for him at this time”….even though Randy has severe hearing loss in both of his ears.
Randy works as an assistant manager at a grocery store where he has been employed for forty eight years. He is beginning to struggle with hearing his customers and his staff, while at the same time Randy says “if I do not get some kind of hearing aid, I will have to quit my job and be financially ruined.” Randy’s wife, Diane, says that she really worries about him…“We cannot afford to purchase a hearing device out of pocket.” Additionally, Randy says, “We cannot afford for me to not be working at this time either.”
While trying to figure out what to do for his hearing loss, Randy did visit with his audiologist, Dr. Steffanie Webber of the Franciscan Physician Network at Coolspring Health Center, to see what hearing devices are currently available. Dr. Webber suggested that Randy try the Cochlear Baha 3 and when Randy did try on the Baha 3, he said “I was surprised at how much I could hear!” “I heard her set her pen down on the desk and I have never heard that before.” As you can imagine, after being denied by their insurance provider for the coverage of a Baha 3, Randy and his wife Diane were at a loss and were worried about Randy’s future, their future.
Luckily, Randy and Diane found the Ear Community Organization and applied for a hearing device for Randy. “I do not want to lose my hearing and not be able to continue my lifestyle as it has been and lose my hearing completely without a hearing device to help me,” said Randy. Both, Ear Community and Cochlear Americas believe in helping individuals hear better, especially if they have a severe hearing loss in both ears and are currently struggling with their hearing loss. When Ear Community received Randy’s application, “Our board wanted to help Randy hear better so he would be able to keep up his lifestyle and keep his job,” said Melissa Tumblin, Founder and Executive Director of Ear Community. Melissa explains that “a hearing loss is often an invisible disability and the public forgets how much of a struggle it is to function in everyday life without hearing…such as simply going to work and carrying on conversations with coworkers and customers.” “We absolutely wanted to help Randy continue living his life by hearing everything in it and being happier.”
On September 25th, 2014, Randy was fitted with two newly donated Cochlear Americas Baha 4 bone conduction hearing devices. Dr. Steffanie Webber was happy to donate her time and services to help fit Randy with his new processors and program them for him. Randy’s wife, Diane, is excited to start using the lapel microphone so she can carry on a conversation with Randy better throughout the house. “It will make both of us much happier,” Diane said.
Ear Community is a nonprofit organization that helps the Microtia and Atresia community worldwide. Ear Community is so very thankful for the help that it receives and when other organizations come together to help Ear Community with its mission, to help children and adults born with Microtia and Atresia. “Thank you to Cochlear Americas for helping Randy live a better quality of life by donating two new Baha 4 processors so he can hear better at work, helping provide the customer service his customers expect from him and continue working his job” says Melissa Tumblin.
Ear Community would especially like to thank Kerri Lewandowski and Joanne Kernie of Cochlear Americas for donating two new Baha 4 processors to our foundation so Ear Community could help Randy hear better. “Cochlear is the global leader in implantable hearing solutions. It has a dedicated global team of more than 2,500 people who deliver the gift of sound to those with hearing loss in over 100 countries. Its vision is to connect people, young and old, to a world of sound by offering life enhancing hearing solutions. In 2013, Cochlear celebrates 100,000 Baha System users – all with unique stories of how being able to hear again has impacted their lives. The Cochlear promise of “Hear Now. And Always” embodies the company’s commitment to providing its recipients with the best possible hearing performance today and for the rest of their lives.”
From all of us at Ear Community…Randy, we hope you continue working for many more years to come, helping your customers the way you like to!
Founder and Executive Director of Ear Community
Ear Community Board of Director members