Illiopolis boy helps push bill to cover hearing aids for kids

Traversing party lines, a young Sangamon County boy and his younger brother took on the Illinois legislature this year and garnered massive support for a bill to help get stronger insurance coverage for children with hearing loss.

“I started trying to figure out what we could do to get it covered, and nobody would listen to me because I’m just a mom,” said Ramona Martin, the boys’ mother. “When (Hunter) turned 7, he started speaking up.”

Hunter and Owen Martin, ages 10 and 7, respectively, both wear hearing aids. They live with their parents in Illiopolis, along with Hunter’s twin sister, Hannah, and Owen’s twin brother, Noah.

Life is going well for the family. Hunter is enthusiastic about school, but the hearing aids he and his brother wear can sometimes create hurdles for the family.

The devices can cost upward of $4,000 and need to be replaced faster as the boys grow up.

Both Ramona and her husband, Andrew, work in education — she’s a social worker at Douglas School in Springfield, and he’s a history teacher at Sangamon Valley Middle School in Illiopolis — and have good insurance. But their plans do not cover most hearing aids.

Hunter’s advocacy was spurred on when he lost one of his hearing aids in school. It was his first time living without one, and he found it exhausting. It took two weeks for a replacement.

“It was rough,” said Hunter. “It’s like putting your fingers in your ears or cotton balls in your ears and then leaving it in 24/7.”

It was exhausting to strain to hear in class, so much so he would come home and nap after school, his mother said.

Last year, he started to attend Illinois House and Senate insurance committee meetings, speaking out why hearing aids should be covered.

“At my first one I was a little nervous, but other than that, I was just fine,” Hunter said.

The bill in 2017 failed, but things perked up in 2018 with House Bill 4516, which requires insurance companies to cover the replacement of hearing aids every three years for children under 18. In February and May, Hunter sat in both chambers’ insurance committees, garnering bipartisan support for the bill.

“Hunter provided really what is firsthand experience of what it’s like to be a child and not able to hear, and how important it was for him to be able to have a hearing aid,” said Sen. Julie Morrison, D-Deerfield, who sponsored the bill in the Senate. “Whether it was to hear a teacher a classmate, being able socialize or just being able to be a normal kid.”

Ramona said her son didn’t need to ask her for help while legislators grilled him with questions.

“This time I went up by myself,” said Hunter. “I was like, ‘Mom, I need you to stay back, I got this.'”

Both chambers were nearly unanimous in their support for the bill, which now sits on Gov. Bruce Rauner’s desk for his signature or veto. The Martins are pushing for people to email Rauner to urge him to sign it.

Despite the strong support among lawmakers, a number of private insurance companies have spoke out against the bill. Hunter says he isn’t afraid of them.

“We’ll get through it somehow,” he said.

The whole process has left Hunter enamored with government.

Part of his interest came from the last day of the legislative session, when he worked as a page for Morrison.

“I just thought he was such an amazing young man. I said, ‘You should come back and be my page one day,’” said Morrison. “I got to introduce him to half the senators on the floor and encouraged him to continue in public policy and told him, ‘You know what, you should run for office someday.’”

When he grows up, Hunter said he wants to join the Army and study politics and law, eventually becoming a lawyer and a senator.

“Whenever I get done with high school, I’m going to enlist in the Army and then head to school,” he said.

In the more immediate future, he wants to support bills that go further strengthen hearing aid insurance coverage, such as extending the coverage to adults and shortening the intervals between getting a new hearing aid.

“Let’s do one thing at a time,” his mother said.

“I know but, it’s gotta get passed,” he retorted. “Well, eventually it’ll get passed.”

Contact Maximilian Kwiatkowski: 788-1530,,

This content was originally published here.

Deaf Baby Boy Hears Family for Very First Time Thanks to Hearing Aids

Developments in modern medicine and technology have combined in ever-more-impressive ways. Yesterday’s science fiction is today’s reality.

We have devices now that would blow people’s minds just a hundred years ago. We’ve made so many advances that have drastically altered our day-to-day lives, for better and for worse.

But one family is basking in the fullness medicine and technology has brought to their youngest son.

Asher was born deaf. He’s never had the opportunity to hear most of the things that babies hear — both before and after being born.

His mother could sing, but he’d only see her lips move soundlessly. His dad could cheer him on and say hello, but it was only motion.

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His brothers would interact with him, but their howls and childlike shouts were muted. The world was not entirely accessible to Asher, and during such a crucial time in his growth.

After finding out he was deaf, his parents made arrangements to get him hearing aids. You’ve no doubt seen some of the videos of young children getting fitted with the device and realizing what they’ve been missing the whole time.

This particular video shows Asher taking in a whole new angle of reality. He can hardly seem to deal with the amount of information he can now process.

The little family is packed into a small room, most likely at the doctor’s since you can see the doctor off to the side in a swivel chair.

As the woman who is presumably his mum holds him up, he swivels his head back and forth, quickly for such a small child. You can see him tracking sounds, and how he’s soaking it all in.

Dad’s voice talks to him from above, and Asher can finally hear his name being spoken to him.

He smiles readily but is so intent on hearing everything that he barely has time to smile before turning to see where another sound is. And there’s sound all around him!

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Mom, dad, and two young brothers all smother him with attention. He can’t decide who to focus on.

“Look at him! He never moves his head this much,” said mom.

Online, the parents shared their joy during those moments: “He smiled from ear to ear when he first hears his daddy’s voice. His big brothers came to witness the miracle, they were so happy. It was a beautiful moment for us as a family.”

A beautiful moment to share with the world, too. A rare moment caught for us to enjoy, as well — welcome to the world of sound, baby Asher!

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This content was originally published here.

Baby Hears Mom For The First Time After Receiving Hearing Aids, And Her Reaction Will Melt Your Heart

Baby Hears Mom For The First Time After Receiving Hearing Aids, And Her Reaction Will Melt Your Heart

Charly, a beautiful daughter of Christy Keane, was born in August 2017. Sadly, the girl came into this world profoundly deaf. Determined parents have been restfully working on a solution since then and they were finally able to get little baby Charlotte hearing aids. And the moment she hears her mother saying “Hi” for the first time, her face lights up with happiness!

Her mother Christy made sure this magical moment stays in their lives forever by recording it. Although Charly is still an infant, you can see how fast she gets really emotional and tries to hold back tears of joy in her eyes. The moment Christy says “I love you”, you can see Charly tearing up again.

“We had our miracle moment that I have been praying for when Char got her hearing aids today. We didn’t think she would hear anything so this was more incredible than I can put in to words. Her journey to implants and language development is off to an amazing start,” Christy Keane wrote on her Instagram.

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Global Adult Hearing Aids Market 2018 – Widex, GN ReSound, William Demant, Sivantos, Sonova and Starkey

The prime focus of Global Adult Hearing Aids Market 2018 is to gather important factors inhibiting the growth of Adult Hearing Aids industry. It also commits to target tendencies of Adult Hearing Aids industry in order to adopt strategies favourable for business and market growth. Analyzing future Adult Hearing Aids Business insights is completely based on the current Adult Hearing Aids business scenario, business approaches, and market demands chosen by the manufacturers of Adult Hearing Aids market. Adult Hearing Aids market is isolated based on key players, product types, applications and geographical regions.

Bisecting global Adult Hearing Aids Industry: 

Adult Hearing Aids market distribution based on manufacturers: Widex, GN ReSound, William Demant, Sivantos, Sonova and Starkey
Adult Hearing Aids Industry distribution based on geographical zones: North America, Europe, China, Japan, Southeast Asia, India

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Global Adult Hearing Aids market 2018 principally focuses on the worldwide market but can be segregated on a regional level as well. Different regions included in this Adult Hearing Aids industry research report are North America Adult Hearing Aids market, Adult Hearing Aids industry of United States, Adult Hearing Aids Business of Southeast Asia, India, China and Japan Adult Hearing Aids market.

Adult Hearing Aids market distribution based on major types of products: Behind-the-ear (BTE) Hearing Aids, In-the-ear (ITE) Hearing Aids, Others
Adult Hearing Aids market distribution based on end user/consumer applications: Audiology Clinics, ENT Clinics, Others

The forecast period from 2018 to 2023 gives a concise plan of further actions to be taken to enhance the growth of Adult Hearing Aids industry. Further, the Adult Hearing Aids industry report accords exact figures of sales revenue of Adult Hearing Aids market, demand and supply ratio, import/export ratio and growth rate of Adult Hearing Aids trade in the form of pie-charts and tables. It gives a detailed company profile of Adult Hearing Aids industry top players along with their contact details, growth facets, annual revenue, sales margin, year of establishment, products offered and major sales region.

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