Meet Andrew Perry, an almost 14 year old who was born with Treacher Collins and bilateral Microtia and Atresia. Andrew lives in Atlanta, Georgia with his father, Clyde, and his younger sister, Sara. Andrew enjoys spending time with his friends and family. However, Andrew struggles with hearing conversations and lessons in the school classroom due to having a maximum conductive hearing loss in both of his ears. Andrew struggles when trying to participate in conversations because he hears too many background sounds, causing noise, that get in the way of the words and communication that he needs to be hearing in order to understand well. Everything blends together for Andrew. “In addition to this, straining to hear can make someone with a hearing loss tired throughout the day,” says Melissa Tumblin, Founder of Ear Community.
Even though Andrew had one hearing device already (a Ponto Pro manufactured by Oticon Medical), he still struggled to hear everything, each day. While not being able to afford purchasing a new BAHA, Andrew’s father, Clyde, did apply through their insurance provider, but were denied coverage for an additional BAHA. Andrew’s father, Clyde, had noted that “Andrew’s academic performance had declined significantly over the past several months and contributes this to his inability to follow classroom instruction successfully.” Andrew’s audiologist, Dr. Brittany Whitlock, Au.D., CCC-A, of Pediatric Ear, Nose & Throat of Atlanta, P.C., knew that Andrew still needed help with his hearing regarding localizing sound with both ears. Dr. Whitlock understands that “the brain relies on equal input from both ears in order to separate noise from speech signals.” In an effort to help Andrew, Dr. Whitlock discovered a nonprofit organization, called Ear Community, that can often help individuals born with Microtia and Atresia obtain hearing devices when in need, and so Dr. Whitlock applied for a hearing device for Andrew.
On February 9th, 2015, Andrew was fitted with a second Ponto Pro hearing device that was donated by Oticon Medical through the Ear Community Organization. “By allowing Andrew to be aided with two BAHA hearing devices, he will be given the opportunity to detect soft speech sounds in both ears, helping improve his ability to localize sound and articulation and follow classroom instruction in background noise to improve his academic performance,” says Dr. Whitlock. Already during Andrew’s first week back to school while being aided with two Ponto Pro processors, he has noticed a difference in being able to hear better!
Ear Community would like to thank Dr. Brittany Whitlock for finding our organization and helping Andrew apply for a hearing device to help him hear better. Ear Community wishes to say a very special thank you to Alan Raffauf, Vice President of Marketing of Oticon Medical, for donating this hearing device to Ear Community so that the foundation could help Andrew. Thank you for your support and for helping Ear Community continue with its mission of helping the Microtia and Atresia community, including individuals born with Treacher Collins as well. While the Ear Community organization is proud to have donated Andrew’s new Oticon Medical Ponto Pro, none of this would have been possible without Oticon Medical donating this amazing hearing device to Ear Community to begin with. Oticon Medical believes in helping individuals with hearing loss so that they can live a better quality of life. Oticon Medical is a well respected international hearing device manufacturer that is a part of the “William Demant Group [which has] 100-plus years of experience in audiology and sound processing and established manufacturing and logistics infrastructure.”
Andrew, from all of us here at Ear Community, we wish you the best with better hearing and in doing so much better in school! “I am always amazed at how much of a difference a hearing device can make in someone’s life,..especially if they are given the opportunity and the chance to obtain one when they couldn’t at first,” says Melissa Tumblin of Ear Community. Congratulations on hearing your best Andrew!
Founder and Executive Director