The ECHO Initiative Team knows that the work that each of you do to ensure that children get the hearing screening and follow-up care they need builds your community in significant ways. Sometimes we are able to give a special "shout out" to individuals, like Bob and Dotti Wilson, who have been making a difference in their community for over a decade!!
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"Want to listen to my machine? It goes click, click, beep, beep." With these words, Bob Wilson, retired physician, introduces a child to otoacoustic emissions (OAE) equipment. Each Fall, starting in 2002, he and his wife Dotti have conducted hearing screenings for children in private and public schools, Head Start/ Early Head Start programs and day care centers in the rural Methow Valley of Washington State. This type of hearing screening would be unavailable had it not been for a grant written by a local non-profit and an area Lion's Club's work to procure the original equipment 13 years ago.
Since that time, an average of 200 initial, individual screenings have been conducted each year with an average of five children being referred for further follow-up after a second screening. Blue Bradley, a certified mid-wife, began practicing in 2010 and uses the equipment for newborn screenings. Because the nearest hospital is a 90-minute drive away, families of newborns who did not pass the initial screening faced a long drive to get re-screenings done. Thanks to Bob and Dotti, families are now offered re-screenings in their home, saving their parents a long car trip. Dr. Ann Diamond, a local general practitioner, states: "Bob and Dotti touch many in the Methow and we benefit profoundly--from newborn hearing screens to school physicals, for tutoring and mentoring, and even for building trails, thank you."
While the Wilsons volunteer their time to conduct the hearing screenings, the local Winthrop Kiwanis Club provides financial support for the disposable ear tips and yearly calibration. These dedicated volunteers also assist during the screenings involving larger numbers of children. This summer, the Washington State Department of Health - Early Hearing-loss Detection, Diagnosis, and Intervention (EHDDI) program is providing the Wilsons with an OAE unit to replace their 13-year-old AuDx equipment--so they can continue their work for another decade!
"Did it sound like a Robot or a Spaceship?" The screening is concluded and 9 times out of 10, there is a smile on the child's face. . .