Champions - Layla and Genevieve Smart

Students • Team Members

From: Syracuse, NY


Discovering Their Hearing Loss

Genevieve and Layla are two active, smart, and enthusiastic kids, who are proud to show off their hearing aids! Although their mother, Mona, suspected they had hearing loss for a few years, they did not start using hearing aids until they were six years old.

“Their hearing losses were first detected at their five year-old well-visit,” she says. “At that time it was not seen as significant because many children at this age fail basic hearing tests, they were developing without any delays, and as parents, we didn’t notice any changes.”

Despite being told not to worry, Mona continued to monitor the girls’ habits and make note of anything out of the ordinary. She noticed the girls—specifically Genevieve—responded slowly to having their names called, and asked, “What?” frequently. At their six year-old well-visit, they failed the basic hearing test again, and Mona became even more concerned. She then took them to an audiologist who discovered both children had significant hearing losses.

“The doctors were surprised that they presented with no academic delays, but we now understand that they had adjusted and adapted to the hearing loss,” says Mona. “Genevieve turned her head towards sound and Layla read lips.”


Receiving Hearing Aids

Once the girls’ hearing needs were addressed, they were fit with the appropriate hearing technology. Now Layla has a hearing aid in her left ear, and Genevieve wears a cross hearing aid.

Their mother says, “At first they felt that everything was too loud but now love how much they can hear! Including their own voices!”

The girls are thankful for their hearing aids, and enjoy how they help them listen better in school and when playing sports. They loved experiencing all the “firsts” with their new devices including, plane rides, sports, and family get-togethers.

“Now our teacher doesn’t have to repeat herself, and Mom and Dad don’t have to yell for us to hear them,” says Layla.


Becoming Young Advocates

Even at a young age, Genevieve and Layla are important members of the community, and spread awareness about hearing loss and hearing technology. Mona describes their involvement in their community and says,

“Genevieve and Layla have always been active kids. They both participate in lacrosse, hockey, flag football, dance, figure skating, and skiing! There hearing loss is part of who they are, and we have embraced their new accessories and awareness of hearing loss. We feel so lucky that we have a wonderful medical community, friends, and school that have supported this transition.

The girls also love to talk about their hearing aids and show their friends and family. They are very proud to wear them! When kids ask why they wear them, they respond by saying, ‘This is how God made us.’ We know they will continue to thrive and be strong advocates for the hearing impaired. As a family, we have committed funds to hearing aid assistance programs because we quickly became aware of the large financial need for the hearing impaired when insurance does not cover the devices.”


Why Genevieve and Layla are HearStrong Champions

Genevieve and Layla are two inspiring young girls who are playing an active role in the hearing loss awareness movement.

When asked if they would like to become HearStrong Champions and serve as inspirations to others, they responded by saying, “AWESOME!”


On October 26, 2016, The Syracuse Crunch mascot, Crunch Man helped us honor Layla and Genevieve as HearStrong Champions in front of friends, family, and hearing healthcare professionals during the EarQ Syracuse Thrive event.

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