Be a Neighbor: Jerry Ardrey, Highspire School Apartments

HDC resident Jerry Ardrey had been slowly losing his hearing for years. Despite using hearing aids he received through his insurance, his hearing continued to decline. This made it difficult for him to communicate with his neighbors and he had begun to make peace with the fact that one day he wouldn’t be able to hear at all.

HDC’s Resident Services team works alongside residents, connecting them with services and resources so they can reach their full potential while living in an HDC affordable housing community. Maria Garcia-Lora, Resident Services Coordinator at Highspire School Apartments where Jerry is a resident, was determined to connect him with resources to help with his hearing loss.

Mark Barge of Beltone Hearing Service, Maria Garcia-Lora from HDC, and resident Jerry Ardrey.

Last spring, she contacted Beltone Hearing Service to provide information about hearing loss to the residents at Highspire School Apartments. While they were at the community, they completed testing on Jerry’s ears and determined that he would need better quality hearing aids. Over the next few months, the Beltone staff worked with Jerry and Maria to ensure he received the devices he needed. Beltone generously donated the hearing aids to Jerry when they learned his insurance wouldn’t cover the cost.

“It’s a little overwhelming,” Jerry said on the day he received his new hearing aids. “There’s a peace of mind. It feels like an answer to a prayer.”

Read Jerry’s full story in his own words here.

I’ve lived here for four years. I had been staying with a friend, but I had to find consistent housing. We put in an application. It was this place or somewhere in Middletown. This place was able to take me, and I really like it.

There are nice people here. I have good neighbors. The management is helpful.

It means a lot to have people you can rely on, like Carolyn, my neighbor. I’m not able to go places a lot. She picks things up for me. My friend Diane, she helped to get me in here.

I like to know who is in every apartment, not because I’m nosey, but because I like to know my neighbors. If my neighbors are getting packages, I’ll look out for them. Community is important. They call me the Mayor of Highspire.

Maria Garcia-Lora is an angel. Without her, I wouldn’t have gotten these hearing aids. She’s great and she doesn’t just do things for me. Everyone here should be grateful for her. She gets so much done.

Years ago, I kept having problems with my hearing. A neurologist determined that I had gotten meningitis. Meningitis is a virus that attacks the weakest part of your body. Ever since I was a child, the weakest part of my body has been my ears. I had gotten hearing aids through my private insurance when I was married, but my hearing was still continuing to decline.

Maria contacted Beltone to come out to the community. They came in and did extensive testing on me. They tested my cochlear bones. You wouldn’t believe the testing they did. They told me that I needed a better quality of hearing aids.

I asked, “Will my insurance cover it?” It wouldn’t, but Beltone told me they have a foundation and they were going to pay for everything. They would give me the batteries, and come back to check on them.

It’s very exciting. It’s a little overwhelming. It’s amazing.

There’s peace of mind. It feels like a million bucks. It feels like an answer to a prayer.