Disability Issues

Disabled audiologist helps hearing impaired

Sunday, March 11, 2012

An audiologist, who is hearing and vision impaired, recently opened his own business with help from the state of Illinois.

State budget cuts and staff reductions for not-for-profit agencies serving people with disabilities have been in the news recently.

We rarely hear about the state supporting small business owners with disabilities.

Sonus Hearing Care Professionals opened in December in a shopping center in Naperville.

James Sheehan is the audiologist and owner.

"Sonus is an independently owned and operated," he said. "We are a franchise but we specialize in hearing health care and a customized solution where we put the patient first.

"We do not make hearing aids, we're not a manufacturer at all and we only provide the service. We work with the major manufacturer. We take that hearing aid because a hearing aid without service doesn't do anything."

Sheehan has always dealt with hearing loss.

"I was about a freshman in high school until I realized that I had problems with my eyes and then they never really figured out what it was, until many years later, we came up with the diagnosis of Usher's Type 2A was then even in subcategories," Sheehan said. "Nighttime is very difficult for me to see a star when you point to a star&it's not going to be there for me. If I look out of the corner of my eye, then I will know it's there. I can sense that it's there but I can't see it."

His job is challenging but he is able to work with the help of a closed caption television.

While in the process of setting his own business, Sheehan needed help with office furniture and adaptive equipment. He wrote a business plan for state funding.

Kimberly Mokris, a senior rehab counselor from the Division of Rehabilitation Services, helped him get started.

"It's hard to write a plan on your own," Mokris said. "It's nice to have someone else's ideas and advising you"

Sheehan's plan was very well written. He received $75,000

"All of the audiology and assistive technology equipment, the CCTV in the background, it's a smart View 360, there's a sound booth on the computers," Mokris said. "Everything related to the audiology and technology, the assistive technology to help him with his vision."

Although this is Sheehan's first business, Mokris is confident he will be successful.

"Because customers are patients and how often will they have an audiologist that will understand them," she said.

Sonus Hearing Care Professionals is open for business. They accept many major health insurances.

Sonus Hearing Care Professionals
1212 S. Naper Blvd., Suite 118

State of Illinois Rehabilitation Services
a href="http://www.dhs.state.il.us" target="_blank">www.dhs.state.il.us

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