Venice Family Clinic

With the mission to provide free, quality health care to people in need, Venice Family Clinic is the largest free medical clinic in the nation. The Irma Colen Health Center in Mar Vista is one of their seven clinical sites and serves mostly families in a high crime/low income area. They will use our grant of $10,714.78 to purchase two pieces of hearing screening equipment, because children in this community don't have access to additional hearing screenings after birth. Because 66% of children's hearing impairment is missed at newborn evaluations or develops unnoticed by school age, this equipment will provide a vital service to children in need. The first piece of equipment will be used for otoacoustic emissions testing which permits early detection of inner ear abnormalities associated with a wide variety of diseases and disorders such as vertigo, making it difficult to enjoy normal childhood activities like walking to school or playing sports. The second item is a tympanometer and will be used to detect middle ear disorders. Tympanometry is a test in which sound and air pressure are used to check for fluid in the middle ear which, if undetected, may cause a delay in proper speech and language development, making it difficult for these kids to keep up with peers at school, or may even cause brain abscesses. Early identification of deafness and hearing loss will enable the children to obtain treatment and therapy from specialists and experts, thereby enhancing their quality of life. It will also make it more likely that technologies such as hearing aids and cochlear implants will enable a child to learn in mainstream educational programs.