From: Liverpool, New York
At birth, Giovanna was diagnosed with bilateral Atresia and unilateral Microtia. This means that she was born with a closure of her external auditory canals and an underdeveloped external ear on one side. Because this prevented sounds from being conducted through the entire ear, she experienced what is known as conductive hearing loss. Her mother Nicole recalls making the decision to fit Giovanna was hearing aids. She says,
"When Giovanna was around three months old, I met with personnel from Early Intervention... At that moment I realized that I didn't want Giovanna to miss a thing. Giovanna was aided at four months old and has been wearing a hearing aid ever since."
Giovanna is a sixth grade student who plays on a softball league and loves to ski in the winter. In the classroom, she is a leader and inspires other students with her positive attitude and confidence.
"My favorite subject in school is writing. I love to write. It is a hobby of mine," says Giovanna. "And I always like to read a good book!"
"Her teachers have stated that when other students see Giovanna ask for clarification it makes them unafraid to ask for help too," says Nicole.
In spring of 2017, Giovanna decided she was ready for her Microtia repair, and in July she underwent the first stage, which took six hours. She has shown courage every step of the way.
Nicole shares how inspirational Giovanna has been to her through this process. She says,
"Although the Microtia repair is not completely finished, Giovanna is not ashamed or embarrassed by the looks of her ear currently. She wears her hair up every day and has no problem sharing her story with people who are unfamiliar with her progress. and confidence. I am so proud of my daughter. When she was first born I was very fearful for what could or couldn’t possibly occur with the difficulties Giovanna would face due to her hearing loss and the deformity of the outer ear. Time and time again, she showed me there wasn't anything to be afraid of. She has persevered throughout her childhood and is ready to take on the next journey in her life."
Giovanna is a HearStrong Champion because she is fearless, and an inspiration to all. She wants to spread awareness and make others feel empowered.
"I want to tell kids they are not alone," she says. "There are a lot of kids that have a hearing loss or are deaf. I once thought no one else had hearing aids and that I am the only one, but now when I see people with hearing aids or implants I think that it is so cool."
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