From: Orland Park, Illinois
When Violet was 15 months old, her mother Dagnye became concerned for her hearing. While she had passed her newborn hearing exam with no problem, she was showing delays in her speech and comprehension as a toddler. As a speech pathologist, Dagnye knew something wasn't right. She worked with her constantly, but nothing seemed to help. Finally, a hearing evaluation revealed that Violet had hearing loss after all, and she was fit with hearing aids at the age of two.
"Violet underwent two heart surgeries before six months of age," says Dagnye. "She received multiple IV antibiotics at her surgeries, which is the suspected etiology of her hearing loss. I remember just waiting to be able to have a conversation with my toddler."
Around four years of age, it was determined that Violet needed further assistance to help her hear and she had a cochlear implant surgery. This opened up a whole new world for her.
"With her cochlear implant and hearing aid working together, we were finally able to have a conversation. It was wonderful." says Dagnye. "It was so exciting to see Violet's eyes open up so bright and wide when she was first correctly amplified. Seeing her respond to speech and our voices was so exciting as parents."
Today Violet is a middle school student who loves math and gym class. She participates in many activities including band, gymnastics, dance, soccer, and swimming.
"My favorite part about being able to hear better is being able to communicate with kids my own age and also listening to cool sounds and music," she says.
At school, Violet does a great job of advocating for herself if she misses instruction from a teacher or if kids ask about her hearing aids.
"I tell them I had heart surgeries as a baby and all the medicines took my hearing away. Then I explain about the devices I wear to help me hear better."
Violet is a HearStrong Champion because she knows it's important to advocate for herself, and doesn't let any limitations to what she can achieve.
"I want to show kids and adults with hearing loss that they can still achieve their dreams and accomplish anything they set their minds to," says Violet. "My biggest role model is Bethany Hamilton because even though she had her arm bitten off by a shark, she doesn't let anything hold her back. Just like me. I don't let my hearing loss hold me back in any way."
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