Grace failed her newborn hearing screening at the hospital after birth and was diagnosed with bilateral, severe to profound hearing loss after having a diagnostic ABR at two weeks of age. Grace was fitted with hearing aids at two months of age. After almost a year of wearing hearing aids, Grace was not able to detect normal-level sounds. At the age of 12 months, Grace received her first cochlear implant on the right ear; and at 15 months, her left ear was implanted.
Grace’s parents, Jodi and Daniel, are both congenitally hearing impaired and cochlear implant recipients. Though they had experience with hearing loss, they were confused, overwhelmed, and devastated by the diagnosis. Like other parents, they felt guilty that they may have caused their daughter’s hearing loss and they later discovered that they both share the same mutation in Connexin 26 gene. Connexin 26 is known as the most common genetic cause of hearing loss. Lucky for Grace, her parents knew right where to turn. Grace’s father, Daniel- along with his brother and sister, are CHS alumnus.
Although discouraged with the diagnosis and the cause for their daughter's hearing loss, they firmly believe that Grace’s early intervention is their “trump” card and they should run with it, so they returned to CHS and the Audiology and Speech teams began immediate work with Grace. And, they enrolled her in The Melinda Webb School full-time.
Jodi said of CHS, "Words cannot describe how CHS made a difference in our lives as parents. The staff have given us so much love and support. As parents, we have gained confidence, strength, and greater knowledge to assist Grace in her everlasting need for comprehensive speech and language. The Center for Hearing and Speech really opened the doors for Grace’s future. Thankfully, CHS is a true lifesaver for our family. The professionals at CHS are our greatest advocates. They did a fantastic job of educating us and making sure that Grace was referred to receive all of the services that she needed including early intervention. They truly got us started on the right path and we are beyond grateful for Grace’s happiness. Her future is so bright because of this miraculous technology and the community of experts at CHS."
And what does she have to say about Grace? "We call Grace our “Amazing Grace” because every day we are amazed and elated by her remarkable progress. Grace’s speech and language has improved at an incredible rate since her first cochlear implant activation. Grace has been able to thrive in everything she does. We are forever grateful for her speech therapist, audiologist, and teachers. Grace is an intelligent and strong willed little girl who loves to talk! She is just so full of life. Grace loves to name all animals she sees. She loves to read, play, dance…and sing! We forget that Grace has hearing loss when she is wearing her cochlear implant speech processors. She has by far surpassed any expectations we would have had of her if she was born hearing. Grace continues to make great progress with her cochlear implants and we never have been so proud of our little girl! The Center for Hearing and Speech has given us the belief that our Amazing Grace will fulfill the hopes and dreams we had for her when she was born, and for that we are eternally grateful!"
We think Grace, and her family, are pretty amazing too!