Deaf kids get hearing aid

Early Hearing Detection and Intervention program Coordinator Chinilla Pedro-Peter performs a hearing screening test for a young client with an assist from his mother at Majuro hospital. Photo: Kelly Lorennij.


The Marshall Islands Early Hearing Detection and Intervention (EHDI) program conducted screening and follow up surgeries for babies and young children on Ebeye and Majuro the past two weeks. EHDI, with the aid of University of Hawaii managing the program grant, brought in a team of specialists to continue their ongoing hearing intervention services in Ebeye and Majuro. The team in Majuro this week, following last week’s visit to Ebeye, consists of Ray Miner, principal investigator; Chinilla Pedro-Peter, EHDI coordinator; Dr. Ross Shockley, Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) specialist; Ysunit Weirather, audiologist; and Agnus Flood-Tse, screening supervisor.

Prior to the five-day screening on Majuro that started Sunday, the team saw 43 patients and performed 11 surgeries on Ebeye. Although the program focuses primarily on young children and babies, Miner told the Journal that they able to insert three hearing aids on children and another three on adults as well. On the Majuro side there are 47 patients scheduled and just into the second day three surgeries had already been accomplished. Miner said they are anticipating hearing aids for three potential candidates.

At the end of both clinics, he adds, they always open for walk-ins to offer their program services to adults. Miner commented, “We are continuing to expand and provide early intervention for the infants and toddlers that are identified with hearing disabilities.” Part of this includes focus on instructing the family about communicating with Deaf or partly Deaf children.

The program is also coordinating with Special Education (SPED) at the Public School System. Special Education recognizes the importance of Child Find, which legally requires schools to find all children who have disabilities and may be entitled to special education services. As a result, Miner said, they were able to place a three-year-old with hearing impairment in the Deaf education program. Ebeye’s Deaf program has two teachers who have been working with Pedro-Peter in providing early intervention services to three babies that the team recently identified, he added.

Read more about this in the June 21, 2019 edition of the Marshall Islands Journal.