On Wednesday, a pair of California twins suffering from hearing loss were able to finally make out words, thanks to hearing aids.
It all started when the identical twins’ mother, Gemila Hernandez, realized they both experienced mild to moderate hearing loss. They had been born 3 weeks premature, but seemingly healthy, on February 20. However, at the end of their stay in the neonatal intensive care unit they failed their hearing tests. Initially, the family was comforted by the fact that fluid remaining in the infants’ ears might have led to a temporary blockage, but the issue persisted. With hearing aids at a prohibitive cost of $12,000, excluding the additional medical expenses, the family couldn’t afford to provide the children with the help they needed. Insurance didn’t cover the purchase of such devices, because it considered them `elective’ and the kids were running out of options.
Thankfully however, Kayla and Kiara Hernandez were sponsored by the HearAid Foundation, an NGO which supports people with hearing disabilities. The 6-month-old sisters received custom-made purple and pink hearing aids, which were fitted by Shohet Ear Associates, as reported by the OC Register. The devices not only allow the siblings to hear clearly what the others are saying, but will also aid their learning process and speech development. Because of their hearing disability, the twins had risked delays in acquiring skills related to communication and social interaction. The earlier they could receive medical support, the better prospects they had to lead normal, fulfilling lives.
As soon as the devices were fitted, one of the infants managed to hear the word `mama’ and reacted by cooing and moving her legs. Overjoyed by the children’s first acknowledgement of the sounds around them, the family wishes to turn the story viral, so that other parents facing this problem can seek aid and provide their kids with the assistance they need.
As a show of gratitude towards the HearAid Foundation, Gemila Hernandez encouraged other families affected by hearing loss, `Support them and learn about them. See how they’re impacting the community because if I could only tell you how they’ve helped us’.
The foundation’s slogan is `No one should have to live his or her life without hearing’. According to Kelsey Duckett, the NGO’s spokesperson, they provide assistive technology free of cost, to those who couldn’t otherwise afford such expenses. This has been changing many lives for the better; in the last 4 years, HearAid has donated more than 160 hearing aids, and its mission continues.
Image Source: La Opinión