Disappointing evaluationTodd and Jennifer Gonser of Dickinson took their daughter KaTrina Ollila, 12, to Mayo Clinic on Jan. 21, with the expectation that a BAHA (bone-anchored hearing aid) would improve her hearing.
By: Linda Sailer, The Dickinson Press
Todd and Jennifer Gonser of Dickinson took their daughter KaTrina Ollila, 12, to Mayo Clinic on Jan. 21, with the expectation that a BAHA (bone-anchored hearing aid) would improve her hearing.
After an evaluation, the Gonsers were devastated to learn the device would not improve her hearing and surgeons would not risk putting her through surgery, said Jennifer Gonser.
“They decided they could do a cochlear implant, but for our insurance to pay, her hearing must be less than 30 percent at word recognition. She is at 60 percent,” she said. “She pretty much has to be deaf before they will help her.”
KaTrina is completely deaf in her right ear and profoundly deaf in her left, she added.
“Doctors said if we could pay for it right now, they would do it immediately, but we have to wait for insurance,” she said. “I had gotten my hopes set on it.”
The Gonsers were told to come back in a year to re-evaluate her hearing.
“Basically, we have to wait it out. Either she loses more hearing or we come up with the money,” she said.
When school friends have asked KaTrina if she had the surgery, she says “no,” said Jennifer.
“You can see in her face how angry she feels, but she doesn’t want to talk about it yet,” said Jennifer.
A medical benefit was held Jan. 12 to help the Gonsers cover the travel expenses.
“All of her money is in her account, waiting to be used,” said Jennifer. “I never expected that many people to show up. We are still getting money to put into an account. It’s been overwhelming.”
The Gonsers learned cochlear implants could be used on both ears.
“We can look at the positive side. We can have something for both ears now, but it’s still hard for me to get through it,” she said.