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November 17, 2002

United Way helps with hearing services

From: Manitowoc Herald Times Reporter, WI
Nov. 17, 2002

Holiday House serves 300-400 residents a year

By Tom Bowens
Herald Times Reporter

MANITOWOC — Through United Way donations, the Holiday House of Manitowoc County hearing loss and deafness program is able to serve between 300 and 400 members of the community a year with hearing impairments.

The hearing program is solely funded by United Way money.

“Without United Way it would be a real struggle, and there wouldn’t be anywhere near the services available,” hearing loss and deafness specialist Camille Monard said.

She works with clients that have mild to moderate hearing loss, as well as those who are totally deaf, or have a speech impairment that makes it difficult or impossible to communicate using a standard telephone.

Monard assists clients in obtaining state funding to buy specialized communications equipment, teaches them how to use it properly and often goes to their residences to install it.

Many individuals, particularly senior citizens, often are reluctant to admit they have a hearing loss, which begins to adversely affect their lives, Monard said.

“On an average it takes an individual seven years to accept that they have a hearing loss, and accept help or services,” she said.

Individuals with a hearing loss may become isolated from friends and family.

“People get annoyed when you’re asked to repeat that,

that you need to speak louder. Pretty soon, family and friends don’t want to call anymore, because they get tired of yelling into the phone,” Monard said.

Regardless of age or income, an individual can apply for a state voucher to buy equipment. The amount the individual receives depends on their degree of hearing loss. The vouchers are from $200 up to $7,200.

“I think the service we have here is very important to the community,” Monard said “I want to get every household that has a person with a hearing loss a telephone, because it is amazing when you see the difference with this person when they talk over one of these phones.”

Monard also does interpreting out in the community for individuals who use American Sign Language, and teaches signing classes at Holiday House.

Copyright © 2002 Gannett Wisconsin Online.