Andrew's Story

 When a parent(s) hears the words “progressive hearing loss”, there is a lot of uncertainty and anxiety. What is progressive hearing loss? What does that mean for my child? In the most basic terms, progressive hearing loss is when a hearing loss (mild or otherwise) has been diagnosed and it becomes worse.

This is what Priscilla felt when her son Andrew who is now 9, was diagnosed at age 5 with sensorineural hearing loss in both ears which occurs when there is damage to the inner ear (cochlea), or to the nerve pathways from the inner ear to the brain.  Most of the time this condition cannot be medically or surgically corrected, and is the most common type of permanent hearing loss.

Priscilla noticed Andrew’s decline in responsiveness and lack of understanding of what was being said to him in his early years, leading up to his diagnosis.  “I noticed something was really wrong when Andrew started to always turn his head and say, ‘What Mommy?’ when I would speak directly to him?  And if I was in another room and would call out to him, he would not respond to me. In the beginning I thought maybe it was selective hearing, but as time went on, I realized I needed to get my son checked out”.   Priscilla received the diagnosis from Andrew’s Audiologist, Maxine Flaman who fit him with his first set of hearing aids and moulds at age 5.

Hearing aids and moulds are currently not covered 100% by Manitoba Health and a portion of the costs are still left for the parent(s) to absorb; hat is where Variety stepped into Andrew and Priscilla’s life, to help fill these health care gaps and cover those costs through their Variety’s Special Needs Program.

Variety’s Special Need Program also supported Andrew by gifting him a Roger Easy Pen which is a universal, cutting-edge wireless microphone that helps him to interact and understand in challenging listening situations, which features adaptive wireless transmission with fully automated settings, wideband audio Bluetooth for cell phone use, TV connectivity, and an audio input for listening to multimedia.  This device can also be used alongside other Roger Clip-On Mics and Roger Pens in a microphone network.

Andrew is a very active boy who loves to sing, play the violin, piano, and participate in soccer.  The Roger Easy Pen allows the best “signal to noise” ratio for Andrew at all times, regardless of activity, position in environment, or environment noise levels.  This means that the voice of the person speaking-whether it be at home with his mom, or Andrew’s soccer coach during a soccer game, his music instructor, or his friends while playing – will always be audible at an optimal level above the background noise. The Roger Easy Pen ensures Andrew will be able to participate in conversations and communicate effectively which will improve his social interaction, athletic participation, and also increase environmental awareness and safety.

“Andrew and I cannot thank Variety enough for their gracious decision to support us through his hearing aids, moulds, and The Roger Easy Pen. In more ways than you could ever know, it has been a tremendous blessing.” said Priscilla, Andrew’s mom.

Watch our video on Andrew’s story here!

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