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Hearing aids for children available via loan bank

April 28, 2003

The Maryland State Department of Education has unveiled the Maryland Hearing Aid Loan Bank, a new program administered through the Division of Special Education/Early Intervention Services.

Many families with limited or no insurance coverage for hearing aids are unable to purchase aids for their infants and toddlers, often due to insufficient funds or delays in processing insurance claims. The Loan Bank will meet the needs of infants and toddlers with hearing loss by temporarily supplying them hearing aids while their families make arrangements to secure permanent amplification.

Families, in cooperation with their child's audiologist, may access the Loan Bank by completing a required application. Following the application review, families may borrow hearing aids for a six-month period. In the event that hearing aids are not secured within six months, three-month extensions may be granted upon written request.

The Loan Bank provides a bridge from early identification through Maryland Universal Newborn Hearing Screening to full participation in early intervention services for infants and toddlers with hearing loss. Through the Loan Bank, eligible children will receive access to amplification during the critical period of language development.

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"This exciting program can make a real difference in the lives of children," said Maryland State Superintendent of Schools Nancy S. Grasmick. "Improved hearing, along with important early intervention services, are building blocks for language development. They are the foundation for school readiness and success."

The Maryland State Department of Education's effort will help enhance the emerging language abilities of infants and toddlers with hearing loss during a crucial period of development.

For information regarding the program, contact Paul Farrell, director, at 1-410-767-0739 or e-mail pfarrell@msde.state.md.us.

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