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Maryland Hearing Aid Loan Bank

DIVISION OF SPECIAL EDUCATION/EARLY INTERVENTION SERVICES
MARYLAND STATE DEPARTMENT BOARD OF EDUCATION

My name is Stacy Fitzgerald and I am the audiologist working with the Division of Special Education/Early Intervention Services in the Maryland State Department of Education with the Hearing Aid Loan Bank (HALB). The program loans hearing aids to infants and toddlers up to age of three with hearing loss whose family may have financial difficulty purchasing aids, or those who are waiting to receive their personal hearing aids or cochlear implants.

The Maryland Hearing Aid Loan Bank (HALB) was formed to provide loaner amplification devices to meet the needs of deaf and hard of hearing infants and toddlers in Maryland. The HALB is funded through federal and State resources, and began its eleventh year of operation in January 2014.

As you are aware, research has found that early amplification of hearing through the use of hearing aids is essential to support emerging language skills, cognitive skills, and healthy social/emotional development, all of which are essential in forming a solid foundation for school readiness, learning, and success. Infants who are identified with hearing loss early in life can be fitted with hearings aids as young as four weeks of age (Joint Committee on Infant Hearing, 2000). The HALB provides access to hearing aids as soon as possible following the confirmation of hearing loss. The program ensures that young children have access to maximum auditory stimuli during the most critical period of language development.

The HALB loans quality digital hearing aids free of charge to Maryland residents who meet the required criteria. We have recently added new hearing aids to our inventory. These devices offer premium digital technology, and are currently available for loan.

As a practicing audiologist for 13 years, I have worked in both clinical and dispensing practices, as well as, in the public school setting. I am extremely excited about working with this valuable program. I hope to increase awareness of this service to both audiologists and families throughout the state. Please feel free to share this information with other practitioners and families.

For more details, please visit the Maryland Hearing Aid Loan Bank overview online, and download an HALB application.

Please feel free to contact me with any questions you may have at stacy.fitzgerald@maryland.gov.

The HALB program manager, Marni Helfrich, is also available to provide you with information.  She can be reached at marni.helfrich@maryland.gov or (410) 767-0248.

We look forward to hearing from you!
Stacy Fitzgerald, M.S. CCC-A


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