Correction: This story original included incorrect information on Hearts for Hearing and NewView Oklahoma. The story has been corrected.
Right off of the Broken Arrow Expressway, two nonprofits opened clinic spaces this year to serve Oklahomans facing vision or hearing loss.
Hearts for Hearing, a nonprofit audiology clinic, and NewView Oklahoma, a nonprofit low vision clinic, began serving patients in their new offices at Legacy Plaza, 5350 E. 31st St., this year.
Dr. Arun Joshi, an audiologist at Hearts for Hearing, which opened March 26, thinks it’s important to provide affordable health care, especially to children with hearing loss, he said.
“The cost for health care can sometimes be a burden and can sometimes be a barrier to early intervention in children,” Joshi said.
He said the sooner a child is brought in, the quicker they will be on par with their peers.
At its two Oklahoma locations last year, Hearts for Hearing provided 2,037 children with hearing loss programs and services.
“When kids are born deaf, we provide their families with the diagnosis, and then we provide them with a communication review,” Joshi said. “We talk to them about all the options that they have to be able to support their child’s communication modes.”
As well as providing services to people with hearing loss, Hearts for Hearing also works to educate people about Listening and Spoken Language outcomes for children with hearing loss, Joshi said.
“We want the parents to make a really informed decision,” he said.
Adults who are unsatisfied with their hearing aids can go into Hearts for Hearing for an assessment to find out if they are candidates for cochlear implants, Joshi said.
Children can receive services and hearing technology, like hearing aids, at no cost to the family through the age of six. After that, support is available as needed through financial aid at Hearts for Hearing.
NewView Oklahoma moved into Legacy Plaza on April 1. Since then, it has continued serving its more than 5,000 active clients with 35% more space than its previous location at 61st Street and Yale Avenue, where it served Tulsa-area patients for the past six years.
“Our job is not to make you see; it’s to help you be more aware of your environment,” said Terry Rairdon, a certified occupational therapy assistant at NewView Oklahoma. “It’s to help you continue to do the things that you want to remain safe and independent, whether it’s in your home or your workplace.”
In addition to low vision assessments, the clinic staff teaches patients how to modify their homes after vision loss, which may include lighting adjustments, high-contrast tape and tactile markers. NewView’s optometrist and low-vision specialists also help patients with orientation, mobility, reading and writing, assisting technology and job placement, Rairdon said.
Seventy-eight percent of NewView Oklahoma’s patients are 55 and older, with 15% between 15-19 years old and 7% age 18 and younger, according to the nonprofit’s 2018 impact report.
After their appointments, patients can peruse the clinic’s store, which sells things like large-print crossword puzzles, magnifying glasses and extra-large bingo cards.
“A lot of people, as their vision gets affected, one of the things that they don’t realize is they start getting depressed,” Rairdon said. “They don’t realize that there’s help out there.”
Tulsa City Councilors offered a forum recently on the Equality Indicators report, which uses 54 equality measures that compare outcomes of groups likely to experience inequalities.