Please Help Me Hear

Hi there. My name is Gail Heller and I have Sensorineural hearing loss (SNHL). SNHL occurs when there is damage to the inner ear (cochlea), or to the nerve pathways from the inner ear to the brain. Most of the time, as in my case, SNHL cannot be medically or surgically corrected. SNHL reduces the ability to hear faint sounds. Even when speech is loud enough to hear, it may still be unclear or sound muffled. It is the most common type of permanent hearing loss.

I've had a hearing loss since childhood. I had ear infections that went largely untreated and resulted in damage to my inner ear. My hearing loss has worsened over the years and now, at age 50, I have lost approximately sixty percent of my hearing, bilaterally (in both ears). With the use of the appropriate hearing aids I can hear. Therein lies my dilemma.

Because my hearing loss is so severe, I qualify for financial assistance from the Indiana Department of Vocational Rehabilitation Services, a division of the Indiana Department of Family and Social Services. I am a resident of Indiana and have been trying to get assistance for over five years. That's right, over five years.

I have submitted all paperwork, including audiology and ENT medical exams for my hearing aids and although I've been told numerous times I would receive assistance, I have been met with nothing but delays and roadblocks for, as I said, over 5 years. Luckily, my persistence has finally paid off and I have been able to reach an agreement with the University of Louisville Physicians Audiology and the Indiana Department of Vocational Rehabilitation Services that will allow me to receive the hearing aids I need. However, I will be required to pay $2,742.50. I simply don't have that kind of money so, I've come to the Internet to share my story and to ask for help.

I love animals. Those are my dogs, Noah and Mazie, with me up there at the top of the page. I am a certified pet loss and bereavement counselor and animal chaplain and the director of Chance's Spot (www.chancesspot.org), a nonprofit organization that provides pet loss and grief support to children, adults, and pet care professionals as well as education about pet care and pet safety to children.

Oh, and if you would like more information or to view a timeline of my situation with the Indiana Department of Vocational Rehabilitation Services, including a timeline of events, please visit my website: www.pleasehelpmehear.com
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Organizer

Gail Heller 
Organizer
Clarksville, IN
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