When Rooshad Irani was a child growing up in Karachi, Pakistan, he and his parents assumed that his problems hearing and understanding others were probably linked to his environment. A city of 14 million people, after all, has a lot of competing noises.
But when they moved to Wichita when Rooshad was 14, the hearing difficulties persisted. The problem could no longer be dismissed as environmental.
Coincidentally, Irani's aunt worked at the Speech-Language-Hearing Clinic at Wichita State University, now the Evelyn Hendren Cassat Clinic. She diagnosed his impairment and helped him get his first hearing aids. Six years later, Irani returned to the Cassat Clinic to look into replacing the devices, which were wearing out.
"I considered it, but they were really too expensive," said Irani, a junior at WSU majoring in criminal justice. "I'm in debt. I have bills. I just couldn't afford them."
Thanks to a gift of $25,000 from the Children's Miracle Network, the Cassat Clinic was able to help Irani buy the hearing aids, which cost about $4,000.
"Hearing aids are expensive," said Mark Shaver, clinical audiologist. "With today's technology, they're like little micro-computers. But with the grant from the Children's Miracle Network, we're able to help defray the costs for hearing aids and other services, and make them more affordable."
Direct benefit to young people
Children's Miracle Network specified that the grant should be used for patient care for people 21 and younger who had never received aid through CMN before.
"We're in the business of helping sick and injured Kansas kids," said Jill Bosley, director of development for Children's Miracle Network. "We looked at the Cassat Clinic and thought it was a natural fit with our other programs that directly benefit children."
The clinic has used grant monies not only to help children purchase hearing-aid devices, but also to provide FM systems that help teachers communicate better with kids who use hearing aids, Shaver said.
For Irani, the new hearing aids have the added bonus of being water-resistant, which is helpful to someone who works as a lifeguard and aquatics instructor at the Wichita YMCA.
"I can't swim in them, of course, but with all of the moisture and condensation I'm around, it helps a lot," Irani said. "And the new technology that's built into these is fantastic. The sound is much more natural. The battery lasts much longer. It's a huge difference and something I appreciate so much."
If you would like to help patients receive affordable care at the Cassat Speech-Language-Hearing Clinic, contact Lynette Murphy, WSU Foundation senior director of development for the WSU College of Health Professions and University Libraries, at (316) 978-3441 or firstname.lastname@example.org.