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June 16, 2003

Center Helps Hearing-Impaired Children

From: Click 2, TX - Jun 16, 2003

HOUSTON -- A Houston-area center is helping hearing-impaired children with their speech and hearing through a combination of speech therapy and cochlear implants, News2Houston reported Monday.

Kylie Hill, 4, is completely deaf in both ears. Her mom first noticed the problem when Kylie was 5 months old.

"It was scary, very scary, to think there might be something wrong with your child," said Sarah Hill, Kylie's mom. "She wasn't responding to different sounds."

A specialist made the diagnosis.

"When you find out your child is deaf... I was being selfish. She'll never hear me talking to her. She'll never call me, 'Mommy,'" Hill said.

Thanks to a cochlear implant and the Center for Hearing and Speech, 3636 West Dallas, Kyle can communicate.

"Our parents want their kids to be able to communicate with family, neighborhood, society, just like anyone else so they choose this option," said Lori Grubbs, with Center for Hearing and Speech.

The center is the only place in Houston where hearing-impaired children are taught to listen and speak. They are not taught sign language.

The goal is to mainstream the kids into regular elementary schools by the time they are 6 years old.

"I didn't want her to have to rely on an interpreter to communicate with hearing people," Hill said.

"With the technology we have today, hearing aids and implants, these children then have access to sound and with that sound they can learn to listen and talk," Grubbs said.

Kylie received her implant two years ago and has been working at the center for 18 months.

Her therapists call her progress incredible, but not uncommon.

"So many of them I've talked with say, 'I never knew he'd come this far, this far beyond what I expected," Grubbs said.

When it comes to hearing loss, early detection is the key.

Hearing loss is the most common birth defect in children -- one in 200 suffer from some degree of hearing loss, according to studies.

Children at the center range in age from 3 weeks old to 6 years old.

For more information, visit or call (713) 523-8399.

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