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Hearing Loss Association of America Midland’s chapter introduces K-9s for the hearing impaired at Ja

Cayce, SC (Paul Kirby) – The Hearing Loss Association of America Midland’s Chapter is beginning 2020 with a meeting that should interest all people that are hearing impaired. They’ve invited an interesting speaker to their first 2020 meeting that’s scheduled for Saturday, January 16, 2020. May Darby Sikora will be on hand with her service dog Huxley speaking on the topic of Canine Companions For Independence.

Sikora and Huxley are from Bluffton, SC. As a representative of Canine Companions For Independence, she will speak on the topic of how these animals can help provide people who have significant hearing loss more independence and safety in their lives. Having having raised and socialized 15 dogs herself since she began in 2002, she is familiar with helping to raise service dogs.

Sikora has a hearing loss herself and found that having a service dog provided her a great deal of assistance and more independence. After having a Cochlear implant procedure done in 2019, her increased ability to hear more clearly has allowed her the opportunity to travel and speak on the topic of these animals and how they can help.

Service dogs for the hearing impaired are trained to provide many services. They can signal their human when the doorbell or phone rings, someone enters their home, or when the service dog hears a new sound that might need to be investigated. Most importantly, in an emergency such as a fire when smoke alarms are sounding, the dog will alert its owner potentially saving lives. They can also alert when a car’s horn blows or to other sounds those who don’t have a hearing impairment easily notice and take for granted daily.

According to David Bitters of The Hearing Loss Association of America Midland’s Chapter, these animals, often valued as high as $50,000, can be obtained for free through Canine Companions For Independence. Once someone qualifies, they travel to Florida for two weeks of intensive training working with the service dog they’ll be assigned. Since Canine Companions For Independence has free dormitories available and provide the student’s mid-day meals, the cost for the hearing impaired person during the training is minimal. Once students have completed this training, the service dog they’ve been working with is given to them at no expense!

If you are interested in learning more about this and other programs for the hearing impaired, you can attend the January meeting of The Hearing Loss Association of America Midland’s Chapter. It is being held in the Multipurpose Room at #1 Still Hopes Drive in Cayce, SC. It will begin at 1:00 p.m. and will last approximately 2 hours. There is no cost to attend this meeting. A donation basket for Canine Companions For Independence is available if you are able to give. For more information on the association or this months meeting, contact David Bitters by e-mail at dabitters@gmail.com

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