Boston-based Gift of Hearing Foundation makes
Lowell Child's Christmas Very Merry Indeed!
Seven-year old Troy Nguyen
of Lowell, Massachusetts is counting off the days until
Tuesday, December 12, 2006 when he will receive “his new
ear” as he calls it. Troy, who is deaf, is the latest
recipient of a new Behind-the-Ear (BTE) speech processor
from the newly founded Gift of Hearing Foundation (GOHF),
an organization formed to create access to cochlear
implants (CIs) to deaf children and adults. The
Foundation will be awarding Troy’s processor in a
ceremony held on Tuesday, Dec. 12, 2006 at the S.
Christa McAuliffe School Library, 570 Beacon Street, in
Lowell, Massachusetts at 9:30 am EST.
When he was two years old, Troy received a cochlear
implant. This technology is equivalent to a bionic ear
where a stimulator and electrode array was surgically
implanted in Troy’s skull and inner ear. He uses an
external speech processor that sends sound information
to the internal components, which in turn, stimulate his
auditory nerve. The CI miraculously gave Troy the
ability to hear and learn to speak. However, being a
“body-worn” speech processor with a wire that runs from
the waist to the head, it restricted Troy from the
day-to-day activities of other children his age. Troy’s
body-worn processor was also an older model, which was
introduced almost ten years ago.
Troy’s mother Susan stated: “Troy is great playing with
other kids; he enjoys being around them. But at his age
where he is getting self-conscious about his cochlear
implant - he’ll wear (one) shirt over another so his
implant (body-worn processor) won’t show. He reminds me
most mornings if I forget to give him an extra shirt.” MassHealth, which provides insurance coverage for about
20% of all children who use CI’s in Massachusetts, will
pay for the fitting of the better-sounding and more
comfortable behind-the-ear speech processor, but does
not reimburse the clinic or family for the processor
itself, which costs close to $7000.
mother along with Troy’s Cochlear Implant Consultant,
Dorothy Eisenhaure, M.Ed ccc/slp, heard of the GOHF and
with the help of Troy’s team at Children’s Hospital
Boston, they submitted an application for assistance to
the Foundation. Troy was then selected to receive a BTE
processor, which will be presented to him on Tuesday.
As a surprise for Troy, GOHF board member Tomas
Scheckter of Indy Race League fame (who raced for Vision
Racing during the '06 season) will send autographed
racing mementos to present to Troy along with his BTE.
Scheckter joined the board after seeing the miraculous
benefits his cousin Jaki enjoyed from his bi-lateral
cochlear implants. Board member State Representative
Jamie Eldridge will also be at the ceremony and will
discuss the need for Massachusetts Health changes in
coverage so that the multitude of other children – and
adults-- with CI’s in the Greater Boston area might also
receive the same benefits.”
“There are over 50 cases similar to Troy’s in the
state.” says Eldridge, a long-time proponent of
Massachusetts Health reform. “And this gap needs to be
addressed by organizations other than small non-profits.
Deaf individuals should have access to technological
improvements so that they can hear as best as possible
and participate in daily life as fully as possible.
GOHF Founder Eileen Jones says, “We expect Troy’s
support system of teachers, CI professionals and
therapists, as well as area Legislators and school
officials to attend the ceremony. Not one wants to miss
seeing the look on young Troy’s face as he opens his
“new ear” and puts it on – freeing him from a body pack
and wires forever. Merry Christmas, Troy!”
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