Our practice is honored to be able to provide compassionate hearing healthcare to patients living with a disability in Shelby County and surrounding counties. We have long partnered with a variety of support organizations that allow us to be the annual hearing-health provider to their clients.
Just like people without a disability, annual hearing screenings are very important for people living with a disability. Enhanced quality of life and more satisfying communication take place for all of us when our hearing is optimal or has been improved through professional treatment. Simply put, hearing helps us live our best life and that’s why we’re happy to answer the call to serve all our patients.
Now, some varieties of disability do make it all the more pertinent to have access to regular professional hearing exams. Here are just a few examples – though not an exhaustive list – of what we consider when serving our patients with disabilities.
Down Syndrome and Hearing Loss
Studies show an estimated 53% to 88% of people with down syndrome have conductive hearing loss. This type of hearing loss usually occurs because the ear canal is shaped differently. Proactive screenings for trouble hearing with a disability can improve their health into adulthood and their ability to get an education and to live more independently.
Intellectual Disability (ID) and Hearing Loss
Many adults with intellectual disabilities (ID) move into assisted-living residences that specialize in this type of disability. The living style could be somewhat compared to senior assistive living – professional care and support is all around, as are plenty of opportunities for peer activities and for meaningful friendships to form. An estimated 21% to 70% of people with a disability in an assisted-living setting have trouble hearing.
Adults with ID have a rate of hearing loss of around 36%. This is double the rate of the general population (15%).
Imagine for a moment that you have an intellectual disability. And on top of that, you can’t hear or understand what people are saying. How well could you learn to communicate your needs? Do you think you’d get frustrated easily? Do you think others might assume your intellectual disability is worse than it is because they don’t know you can’t hear?
Just like the general population, that rate of hearing decline rises with age, so hearing screenings for people living with ID should take place throughout life.
Auditory Processing Disorder (APD) with Learning Disabilities
Auditory Processing Disorder (APD) is a condition where a person can hear “normally” but struggles to process what they’re hearing. It can lead to frustration and learning difficulty and, in general, impacts quality of life. An estimated 3% to 5% of people have APD, and it may get misdiagnosed as an intellectual disability. That’s yet another reason why regular professional hearing exams in a compassionate setting are so important.
Network of Compassionate Care
I’ve personally seen the difference hearing screenings and interventions will make in the lives of individuals and their loved ones. As I said before, this is how we answer our own call to serve in this practice. But, I would be remiss if I didn’t share the way our partners answer their call to serve.
We work closely with these organizations to provide the best care possible for people in our community who are living with a disability:
Affinity Care Group: Affinity Care Group provides services to support individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities to live a meaningful life: Supportive Living, Community-based Day Services, Employment Support, Transportation, In-Home Care, Perisnal Assistance, and Respite.
Auxilium Health Services: Auxilium Health Services is a for-profit organization dedicated to inspiring people with intellectual disabilities to make informed choices about all aspects of their lives, with the goal to promote independence through participation, community activities, organizations, and the encouragement of personal choice.
Behavioral Services of Tennessee: BSTN is recognized statewide in Tennessee for success working with people with intellectual disabilities presenting the most complex mental, behavioral, and health challenges.
Brenda Richardson Memorial Care Home and Services: Provides personalized care for adults with mental illness, or who are not fully independent.
Caregivers Tennessee: Caregiver Tennessee’s employment and community-first program supports individuals with disabilities.
Capitol City Residential Health Care: CCRHC has extensive knowledge and expertise working with individuals with multiple diagnoses individuals.
Easterseals Tennessee: Easterseals makes profound, positive differences in people’s lives every day, helping our clients build the skills and access the resources they need to live, learn, work and play.
Madison Haywood Developmental Services: MHDS serves approximately 270+ persons and employs more than 450 staff in West Tennessee including Madison, Haywood, Hardeman, Hardin, Decatur, Chester, McNairy, Gibson, Fayette and Henderson counties with varying levels of service. Service plans are designed for each individual for optimal independence and dignity.
MCK Behavior Services: MCK provides quality services for the intellectually disabled, providing support that includes a circle of support members. Services include Behavior Services, Supported Living, Transportation, Personal Assistance, Community-based Day Services, and Supported Employment Services.
Mid-South Area Residential: Mid-South Area Residential Services provides in-home and residential care for seniors and individuals with intellectual disabilities.
Open Arms Care: Open Arms Care supports Tennesseans with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD), of all ages, to reach their maximum abilities and to lead dignified and meaningful lives.li
RHA Health Services: Residential services in Tennessee include Supported and Independent Living, Family-Model, ECF CHOICES, Intermediate Care Facilities (ICF) and Respite. RHA also provides day and employment supports and personal care, attendant care and respite services through the TennCare CHOICES program.
Sevita: For 50 years, Servita’s services have helped families, children, and adults of all ages live joyful lives of their own choosing, no matter what challenges they face.
SRVS: SRVS (pronounced: serves) offers comprehensive care through a supportive environment that strengthens both families and communities. Programs incorporate job training, community employment placement, participation in community activities, family support, residential living, children’s services, and more.
Support Solutions: Provides a wide range of services to support individuals with intellectual or developmental disabilities.
TN Department of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (DIDD): DIDD is the state agency responsible for administering services and support to Tennesseans with intellectual and developmental disabilities. This is done in several ways, including Medicaid waiver Home and Community Based Services (HCBS), state-operated ICF/IIDs, and the Family Support Program. DIDD administers services directly or through contracts with community providers.