We Are Here to Help You
We can help you educate children with microtia and atresia more effectively, with fewer IEP’s fewer grade failures, and less strain on the classroom teachers by providing them with a refurbished bone conducting hearing assist device.
What to do
When you identify a student with microtia and aural atresia, please direct their parents to our website. Often this is not enoughto help these students receive a hearing assist device because parents sometimes do not understand, do not have the resources, or are not willing to follow-through on recommendations that you provide to them for their child. To resolve this issue we suggest you designate one person in your school to serve as a point of contact with us as quickly as possible. The best person for this role would be either your school audiologist, speech pathologist, the student’s teacher, or your school nurse. We would be happy to be available for a three-way conference call where one of our representatives could speak to the parents, and your school representative at the same time. Please have your representative print off the FERPA consent form, have the students parent sign it and then fax it back to us.
Additional Background Information about Microtia and Aural Atresia
Microtia and aural atresia are developmental problems of the external ear and ear canal. They are usually one sided (unilateral) but occasionally can involve both ears (bilateral). Most people understand that bilateral hearing loss is a profound handicap, but most are unaware of the significant handicap caused by unilateral hearing loss and how it affects a child’s ability to learn. These children are classified as educationally disabled by the Individuals with Disabilities Educational Act of 2004, 602(3).
Children with unilateral hearing loss due to microtia and aural atresia usually need additional educational assistance, have perceived behavioral issues in the classroom, and have been found to have increased rates of grade failures. Speech and language delays are also seen. These children usually require an individual educational plan (IEP). This creates three main problems. First, the child is limited in developing their full potential both in classroom learning and socialization. Second, their speech skills can be limited requiring time away from the classroom to attend school sponsored speech therapy sessions. Third, added costs that must be absorbed by the school system to cover the individualized educational plan and all of the added professional services (including the speech therapist).
Recent studies have shown significant improvements in hearing acuity and classroom performance in children with microtia and aural atresia who are fitted with a specialized bone conducting hearing device called a BAHA or Pronto. This device is significantly different than a normal hearing aid. A normal hearing aid fits within the ear canal and amplifies the sound. Children with microtia and aural atresia are born without an ear canal so traditional hearing aids cannot help them. Fortunately, these children often have a normal cochlea embedded deep within the temporal bone, which could allow them to hear if the sound waves could reach it. The bone conducting hearing device transfers sound waves into vibrations. It is held against the bone immediately behind the malformed ear with a soft headband and the vibrations from the device can be perceived as sound by the cochlea.
2 Ears 2 Learn.org is a nonprofit organization created to help with this problem. We collect used BAHA and Pronto sound processors from audiologist, otolaryngologist, and from patients who no longer need them. We have them refurbished and then provide them to children with microtia and aural atresia at limited or no cost. Our target group is children between 4 and 10 years of age.
Our mission is to also work with each state’s Interagency Coordination Council for Special Education to help them understand that these children are protected by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act IDEA 602(3). We can help each state meet their requirements mandated by the education act by providing a hearing assist device to these children. States and school districts can then educate these children more effectively, with fewer IEP’s, fewer grade failures, and less strain on the classroom teachers.