The Gift of Hearing for Chemotherapy Patients
Cancer survivor, Gary Weatherly’s eyes immediately light up and his smile widens as Audiologist, Jessica Bever starts programming his new hearing aids. These hearing devices were made available to Gary through Feist-Weiller's new Hearing Aid Donor Program and Jessica’s efforts. Mr. Weatherly is the first chemotherapy cancer patient to be fitted with donated hearing aids from the program. In 2012, Gary was diagnosed with a cancer of the sinus which required extensive chemotherapy treatments. For chemo patients like Gary, the treatments significantly diminished his hearing. Dr. Maura Cosetti, an expert on hearing disorders explains, “Chemotherapy medications are known to be "ototoxic", meaning that in addition to treating the cancer cells, they can also have an effect on the cells of inner ear. Unfortunately, this can lead to nerve-related hearing loss which is typically permanent. This kind of hearing loss can be enhanced and treated with hearing aids, like the kind that Gary received in this program. Hearing loss can have significant and wide-ranging effects, encompassing both the functional and psycho-social aspect of a person's life. Not surprisingly, auditory rehabilitation, in this case with hearing aids, can have a profound and positive impact.” Gary is delighted to have received the gift of hearing as it wouldn’t have been possible without the support of Ms. Bever’s work and FWCC Hearing Aid Donor Program. Unfortunately hearing aids for adults are not covered by Medicaid or Medicare, and most health insurances do not cover the devices either. The average cost for a single hearing aid is $2000 which can be a substantial hardship for individuals and their families. Mr. Weatherly is eager to share his story with Northwest Louisiana communities in hopes of bringing more awareness to the program. It is his way of giving back to the program so that Jessica can continue to bring the gift of hearing to other chemo patients. If you have new or used hearing aids that you would like to donate, please contact Anne Higdon, FWCC at 318-813-1423.
Dr. Cosetti is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery and the Department of Neurosurgery. Dr. Cosetti is currently serving as the Co-Director of Otology/Neurotology.