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Helping a Deaf Child Hear

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Eight year-old Keyla was born deaf and has a Cochlear implant that enables her to hear. Last year, she began having sporadic hearing loss and lost her balance during playtime at school. As it turned out, these problems were caused by a hearing aid malfunction.

Keyla’s mother Yeni, who speaks only Spanish, contacted the manufacturer and requested a replacement part. The company sent her a stack of paperwork, all written in English. They also sent a bill for $2,500, saying she would have to extend the device’s warranty before they would fix the problem.

Barriers like this were not new to Yeni, whose two daughters were both born deaf. “As soon as I knew both my children were deaf and that there was a way for them to hear, I knew that no matter what, my daughters would hear. I started researching.” Despite her limited English, Yeni successfully got Medicaid to cover the Cochlear implants and kept her daughters’ equipment working.

But for this latest hurdle, Yeni turned to CHA. CHA staff explained the paperwork, telling Yeni that she was not responsible for the $2,500 payment. In fact, Keyla’s health plan would pay for this and any future replacement parts.

MCCAP also ensured that Keyla received a new device that was smaller and more comfortable. CHA reached out to the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, which got Keyla’s health plan to provide the new equipment and a Spanish-speaking case manager to coordinate her future health care services.

Yeni no longer feels alone: “When I learned my girls were deaf and I didn’t have family here, I was so sad…With help from CHA, I know I have someone to call whenever I have an issue. Getting help for my daughters was the absolute best thing that could ever happen to me. Because of me, because I fought for them, my daughters hear and speak.”