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New technology connects rural Oklahoma children with hearing therapy

BY OLIVIA INGLE oingle@opubco.com Modified: July 26, 2012 at 8:40 pm •  Published: July 27, 2012
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“The sound quality was awful and contradicted what we were trying to accomplish,” said Darcy Stowe, a speech language pathologist and certified auditory verbal therapist at Hearts for Hearing.

Ihear also is compliant with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, making it more secure against hackers, Smith said.

Ihear allows therapists to share documents with the children on a computer screen and also provides a digital whiteboard that allows children and therapists to draw together.

The program requires a parent be present with their child during sessions so that parents learn to coach their children.

“Every session we have, we are coaching the parents to do the therapy at home,” Smith said. “Ihear is very conducive to the therapy we already try to do.”

Debby Hubanks has been teaching the hearing and visually impaired in Oklahoma for 30 years. She's currently an educational consultant for Elk City Public Schools and said ihear is a wonderful program for rural Oklahoma.

“It's a real hardship for these young families,” Hubanks said. “They do what they can for their children.”

Smith believes Hearts for Hearing is the best kept secret in Oklahoma.

“We're really gatekeepers of hope for families,” Smith said. “Ihear is just another window of hope.”