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Children's National in Partnership to Distribute Hearing Aids for Kids

Washington, DC - Children’s National Health System is included in a network of hospitals distributing hearing aids through a partnership with the Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation (PBTF) for patients with brain tumors and other forms of childhood cancer.

More than 28,000 children in the U.S. are living with brain tumors, and 13 more cases are identified each day. The PBTF programs include free educational resources and special events for brain tumor survivors and their families. The PBTF, a national voluntary health nonprofit, is the world’s largest non-governmental funder of childhood brain tumor research.

The network will distribute the top-of-the-line hearing aids and audiology services to patients from the partnership that includes the PBTF, based in Asheville, NC, and Siemens Hearing Instruments of Piscataway, NJ.

“The Children’s National Health System is proud to partner with the Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation and Siemens Hearing Instruments to provide free hearing aids to children with brain tumors and other forms of cancer who have suffered severe hearing impairments from either the tumor or treatment,” said Roger Packer,  MD, Senior Vice President of Neuroscience and Behavioral Medicine at Children’s National.  Dr. Packer is Director of both the Brain Tumor Institute and the Gilbert Family Neurofibromatosis Institute at Children’s National.

Hearing loss that is left untreated has been associated with depression, early signs of dementia and other diseases in adults, and delayed or compromised cognitive developmental speech and language skills in children.

“Hearing loss is an often underdiagnosed complication of treatment and if missed and not corrected, can cause significant long-term problems in a child’s ability to succeed in school and, over time, compete in society,” Dr. Packer said.  “Unfortunately, many children do not receive adequate care, including hearing aids, because of lack of insurance coverage for this devastating problem.”

The PBTF and Cancer Care are distributing the hearing aids through the network which also includes the University of Texas and the MD Anderson Cancer Center.

“Treatment-induced hearing deficits may one day be preventable – a thing of the past – for all young survivors of brain cancer,” said Joanne Salcido, PhD, PBTF, Vice President of Research and Family Support. “Thanks to Siemens’ generous contribution and commitment and the participation of Children’s National Health System, the Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation is able to make a difference for children today.”

Siemens Healthcare Sector has committed to an in-kind donation of hearing aids and audiology services valued at $1 million in the program, which benefits patients who have permanent hearing loss as a result of cancer treatment – a condition known as ototoxicity.

The donation aims to raise awareness about ototoxicity among platinum-based chemotherapy medications, radiation therapy and other regimens to treat brain, lung, ovarian and other types of cancers. These treatments, while successful in treating cancer, may also damage healthy cochlear hair cells found in the inner ear – often resulting in irreversible hearing loss.
Contact: Emily Hartman or Joe Cantlupe at 202-476-4500.