Mother and son adjust to life with hearing loss

Mother and son adjust to life with hearing loss

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88Nine Radio Milwaukee

Click the player below to hear how one family is adapting to hearing loss thanks to services from HEAR Wisconsin.

Hearing is a gift that most of us take for granted.

- Richard Phalen, Executive Director of HEAR Wisconsin

Jamie Grasso and her nearly 3-year-old son, Liam, are getting a jump start on pre-school.

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But this isn’t your typical head start program. It’s more like play therapy.

Liam has a rare genetic disorder, and as a result, he has hearing loss in both of his ears.

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“When we first found out, I will say, I’ve never had a panic attack in my life.  My husband thought he was going to have to take me to the emergency room,” Grasso said. “I didn’t know if that meant [Liam] was going to fully deaf or what were our options.”

But as time went on, she and her husband began to more fully understand hearing loss.  And most every morning for the last two years, she has been bringing her son to HEAR Wisconsin.

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At its West Allis center, trained therapists work with Liam and other kids on speech development.  Most of the kids can hear, at least somewhat, with the help of hearing aids or cochlear implants.  And the therapists know just how to communicate with the kids, says Executive Director Richard Phalen.

He says services are offered to all families in need, regardless of their ability to pay.  And it has been doing it for 90 years, statewide.

“At the heart of our lives is our communication.  And the quality of our communication influences the quality of our lives.  We’re here to try to make that possible for as many people as we can.”

Click the player above to listen in on a recent therapy session at HEAR Wisconsin.