Meet Hear Indiana

Let’s get to know Hear Indiana a little bit more

We believe kids with hearing loss can do anything. That’s why we partner with parents to make that dream a reality. For nearly fifty years, Hear Indiana has empowered and supported families of children who are deaf or hard of hearing through listening and spoken language services. Walking alongside Hoosier parents and children, we provide the information, education, advocacy, and hope you need to move your child from striving to thriving.

Question & Answer

How many years has Hear Indiana been serving the Indianapolis community?

49 years. Next year (2021) we will be celebrating our 50th anniversary.

Describe the impact Hear Indiana has on the community.

Since our inception, we have served countless deaf and hard of hearing children, helping them achieve their aspirations and thrive in our communities. We use the plural form of communities intentionally, because the diverse children we serve grow up to be active in many circles (family, work, religious or cultural groups, etc.), but with the ability to listen and speak these individuals are not restricted in any way.  With today’s technology (high-powered hearing aids, cochlear implants, remote microphones), children born deaf have the ability to reach their goals. Annually, we serve over 1000 children from birth through high school graduation. We assist families from all walks of life on their journey, helping them navigate the maze of services. But at the end of the day, we give families hope. Helping children like Yull… 

In 2017, at age five, Yull was diagnosed with mild to severe hearing loss. When he began working with our Hear Indiana team, almost two years ago, his speech was limited utilizing only one or two words at a time. Initially, the goal was for Yull to wear his hearing aids consistently. Through that process, he grew to understand the importance of the devices for his speech and language development. Now, he is speaking in full sentences, and thrilled to get to wear his first colored earmolds! 

Ellyn, Hear Indiana Family and Community Liaison, describes Yull as a funny, resourceful, smart kid who loves to tell jokes. He is working hard to be understood in both English and Spanish, has a positive disposition, and he always tries his best. Ellyn also stresses the importance of working in tandem with Yull’s school. Partnership with a child’s school is a crucial element to support the development process. Yull’s school has worked hard to help him, adding specialized services to fit his needs. 

Yull has made tremendous progress in his short amount of time with Hear Indiana. Teachers and staff at his school have also noticed huge improvements and are excited to continue to aid him in his listening and spoken language journey. At Hear Indiana, we truly believe that every child should be given the chance to hear and be heard. They say it takes a village to raise a child, and we are humbled and honored to be considered to be a part of yours.

What kind of impact would a $10,000 donation from Indyfluence have on your organizations right now?

$10,000 is a large gift for an organization of our size. During COVID-19, we have seen an increased need for our special education advocacy and support services. Who knew that we’d all be trying to figure out e-Learning and hearing device connectivity? Or talking about masks that muffle sound and remove lipreading cues? Every child has unique challenges, and there is no one-size-fits-all approach to educating deaf and hard of hearing children through a pandemic. There is also no guide book. Hear Indiana is working to change that. With your financial support, we plan to develop a handout for school staff – a how-to guide to ensure schools are providing an appropriate (albeit adjusted) public education. Families can also seek out additional support and advocacy help from us directly if they have questions or concerns about their child’s Individualized Education Plan (IEP). A $10,000 donation would allow us to provide ~10 hours/week of specialized support from a Teacher of the Deaf who specializes in special education rights. Currently, there are approximately 2,500 hoosier children who are deaf and hard of hearing who have an IEP. We envision that our handout and online resources would be available to everyone, and that we’d provide direct consultation to about 50 families in the next 12 months.

Talk about the culture of giving you have seen throughout the entire Indy community.

Indy’s philanthropic circles tend to be small. You often see the same donors given to many organizations. Don’t get me wrong… we are extremely thankful for their ongoing support! These are among the most caring donors I’ve ever met!  However, we are very excited about this opportunity, because it gives us a chance to meet new, passionate people. We also look forward to sharing our efforts in the area of diversity and inclusion with your group. We hope that more of our donors, staff, and board members will begin to reflect the diverse community we already serve.

What haven’t we covered that you want the Indyfluence interns to know about Hear Indiana?

The Hear Indiana Listening and Spoken Language Camp (which has existed for over 30 years) is one of the ways we support inclusion. Please check out this video, to learn more about our camp program. Our deaf and hard of hearing campers often feel alone in the hearing world, but our camp is the one place they don’t have to feel alone in their disability.