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Songs For Sound Charity with Founder and Director Jaime Vernon

Songs For Sound Charity with Founder and Director Jaime Vernon

Cliff Olson: Hi guys, Doctor Cliff Olson live
again from AAA 2018. And right now, I’m with Jaime Vernon, who
is the founder and director of Songs For Sound Charity. Jaime, thanks for taking some time to meet
with us at Hearing Tracker today. So we’re going to be asking her some questions
and having her tell us about what Songs For Sound is. So Jaime, enlighten me. Jaime Vernon: Oh my gosh, so my daughter was
born deaf and on multiple occasions she was missed, is the best way to describe it. No newborn hearing screening was given and
we persisted with our pediatrician, who was very reluctant to give us even a referral
back. She was screened, she was tested at ten weeks. It was an inconclusive they thought because
she was a fussy baby. So we left feeling actually pretty good. Cliff Olson: Okay. Jaime Vernon: But they did say follow up. So when we went for the follow up, they said
six to nine months, I guess, which is not the trend anymore. Cliff Olson: Right. Jaime Vernon: Six to nine months, so we went
back to that pediatrician and he said, “No, I think she heard the noise in the hallway. Some kids don’t talk until they’re eighteen
months of age.” And I knew Lexi had something to say so this
pediatrician is in one of the wealthiest Sick Kids in Nashville, seven minutes from Vanderbilt
on the same road, Vanderbilt being one of the best programs in the country, great hearing
program and so after, fast forward, I finally get into an audiologist at Vanderbilt with
Doctor … Cliff Olson: So fast forward but what’s our
timeframe here? Jaime Vernon: So by the time we got to Doctor
Kathy, 14 months. Cliff Olson: Wow, okay. Jaime Vernon: 14 months of age, good question
and Lexi was diagnosed as profoundly deaf, bilaterally. Of course, I thought …. Cliff Olson: An unidentified for that 14 months? Jaime Vernon: Unidentified for 14 months. So a lot of people say, “Oh, you got it.” No, she missed out on so then she’s fast forward
tracked into Cochlear implants. Cliff Olson: Right. Jaime Vernon: And so by the time she’s implanted
and actually, really, actively doing well with here implants, she’s almost two years
of age. So she was implanted at 18 months. Miracle, right? We turned her on at 19 months. Miraculous. So, back to the charity and your question. I’d never heard of a cochlear implant, I knew
very little about hearing loss, we had no family members, some mild hearing loss due
to noise or age. So all I could think of was when I would rock
her and rock her and rock her, I just lost my mom to breast cancer before Lexi was born
and I would try to connect with her and I didn’t know she was deaf and she would squirm
and turn and I’d hand her to my husband and I would just go cry. So fast forward to after she can hear and
the first time she really responded to that for the first time was like time completely
stopped. Cliff Olson: Right. Jaime Vernon: So I just couldn’t believe life
without music, life without sounds, life without a lullaby, a wedding song. Cliff Olson: You think of all the videos that
are the most popular on YouTube, is the ones where you get the activation, right? Individuals who have never worn hearing ads
before, who’d never worn cochlear implants and they get them turned on and then that’s
where the really tear-jerkers happen, right? And I imagine that’s something of your experience,
right? Jaime Vernon: Oh yeah, we have a picture. It just sums it up. She’s like and it’s just like that. We have a picture that we took where she could
hear for the first time and it was miraculous. She went from complete and total deafness
to hearing a whisper. That night we went to a restaurant, you know,
sometimes they say, “Be careful because it’s her first day hearing.” I was like, well, we’ll let her decide. This is life, life is noisy and I’m kinda
that mom, I want her to just grab the bull by the horns, always. So we took her that night. She was fine. She loved it. Cliff Olson: So how did all this lead to Songs
For Sound? Jaime Vernon: So all of that, that gap in
care, the crooked pathway, I say, to hearing health care really bothered me so I launched
awareness events across the country and seven, almost eight years later now, we have five
programs. Our biggest program is our Hear the Music
Project, which is our mobile clinic that provides hearing screenings, information, electronically,
we print it, we put everything in a folder so they can keep it when they’re ready and
we connect them to local audiologies. So we’re the conduit from I think I might
have hearing loss, I might not even know what I’m missing. We show up to big events on the weekends,
like you’re out, you’re going to the festival, you’re going to the air show, you’re going
to places where we should dialogue about hearing loss and we dispel all the myths. Cliff Olson: Right. Jaime Vernon: Like the distrust that sometimes
happened or misunderstanding with what hearing loss actually means in your life. And then we connect you to really quality
care. Cliff Olson: See, that’s great. So you guys actually, you help people identifying
if they have a hearing issue and so explain to me how music really comes into this whole
equation, right? So music is … I love music as much as the
next guy but when I go to downtown Nashville, your ears can ring when you leave some of
these bars that they have downtown, right? So what is the connection with music with
the charity? Jaime Vernon: So the story of Our Lullaby,
that lullaby was the first kind of … My brother-in-law is also the lead singer of
Rascal Flatts, Gary LeVox, so my husband’s brother. I didn’t tell you that? Cliff Olson: No. Jaime Vernon: So, anyway, so we’re in this
musical family. My mom, who obviously passed eleven years
ago, she had the most beautiful singing voice for her church and so we were always filled
with … Our home was filled with music so I just loved the method of going about and
doing change with music. Cliff Olson: Right. Jaime Vernon: Yep. Cliff Olson: Perfect. So … You’re fine, you’re fine. Get your water. Jaime Vernon: Tickle yeah. Cliff Olson: You all right? So you have this charity here. It’s really helping to change the mindsets,
right? And we come up … Actually, in May, is Better
Speech and Hearing Month, do you guys do anything special for that? Jaime Vernon: Yeah, so Cochlear and Phonak and Otohub, which is a screening software, they all partner with us and we do audiology awareness
months, we do some stickers and do a lot with our boys and girls clubs that we serve. We also, during Better Speech and Hearing
Month, we’re doing the Million Ear Challenge with the players. So we do a lot of T-Shirts and all that giveaway. Cliff Olson: Very cool. So a lot of stuff going on with the charity,
which is great. And you’re here at Triple A. This is one of
the best places to spread awareness to other audiologists, right, about this but if there
is a consumer out there right now, you have the ability to talk to someone right now,
what should they do if they feel they’re having difficulty or they have a child that they’re
concerned that I don’t think my child’s hearing well, what should they do? Jaime Vernon: Well, first of all, our checklist,
we have a great checklist on our website,, just so you know, that
is, whether you’re a pediatric participant or if you are an adult, it really walks you
through those next steps, from do I need a referral, do I need to talk to my health care
provider, do I have coverage? A lot of people don’t know how many hearing
tests can be covered. It’s like your eyes, an annual exam is so
critical, just so we know what’s going on, we can make sure that we’re ahead of the curve. Once you start missing your brain function,
speech delays in schools, a mild hearing loss, even for a kid, a mild hearing loss could
lead to them missing 40% of classroom instruction. So it looks like ADHD sometimes. My son has ADHD, I’m not anti-ADHD but it
can look like many different things and so just making sure that we know and taking care
of our ears as if they’re any other major sense in our body. Cliff Olson: So even if they don’t have your
mobile sound booth that you have outside of Triple A here, if they don’t have that in
their city or their area, doesn’t matter, they can still go onto and
actually get information about how you can actually treat hearing loss or identify hearing
loss earlier, get some answers to questions that you may have. Jaime Vernon: Yeah. Cliff Olson: So Jaime thank you so much for
taking time with us. Jaime Vernon: And one more point really quick,
we actually have our event calendar, on the site, where we’re coming. We’ve done 25 states and counting, 16,000
free hearing screening and we target really high risk at times so almost 60% have referred
to local audiology. Cliff Olson: That’s wonderful. Jaime Vernon: Yeah, hopefully we’re coming
… We will come to you eventually so, yes. Cliff Olson: Excellent. Yeah, we look forward to having you out there. Jaime Vernon: Thanks so much for having me
today. Cliff Olson: You’re very welcome. Jaime Vernon: What a great thing you all are
doing. Cliff Olson: You’re very welcome.

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