“Helen Keller is my role model because she was hearing impaired and blind and still managed to learn and teach others.”
Wyllow’s Hearing Journey
Wyllow failed her newborn hearing screening at the hospital. Over the next few months she was tested multiple times by different doctors and continued to get the same results. At 9 months old she was officially diagnosed with bilateral profound deafness. Initially, her parents were terrified to learn that she would struggle to learn basic language and phonics. They wanted to provide her with the best possible solution, but their insurance would not cover her hearing devices and they couldn’t afford to purchase them out of pocket. Wyllow’s parents fought for years to find a way to get them covered. In 2015, Wyllow’s mother Shannon, was connected with the organization, Waiting to Hear, who offered to help Wyllow. She was then fit with her first pair of hearing aids.
Importance of Hearing Better
After being fit, Wyllow’s verbal skills immediately began to show an improvement and because of this her confidence grew. With her hearing aids, she has was able to graduate from speech and now excels in the classroom. Hearing better has improved Wyllow’s life tremendously. They make a huge difference in her ability to learn and clearly understand on a daily basis. With the assistance of her Roger Touch device she uses in the classroom, she is able to clearly and confidently take direction from her teachers. It helps by eliminating background and feedback noises and allows her to learn on the same level as her peers.
With the encouragement and support of her friends and family, Wyllow built up the courage to try out for her second grade basketball team. Wyllow was selected to join the team and being able to hear made all the difference.
“Using her devices she felt confident and had the courage to take the chance,” said Shannon. “As her mom I was so proud. This moment was a defining moment for both Wyllow and I. We both know that she can accomplish anything she imagines with a few tweaks or modifications. She is not disabled, she is specially-able!”
Why Wyllow is a HearStrong Champion
Wyllow is a HearStrong Champion because since receiving her hearing aids, she has been on a mission to help others. She has shared her story through media interviews and volunteered at fundraisers for Waiting to Hear. She even started her own charity called, “The Giving Berries” that is focused on hearing related causes. She works with her sister to sell chocolate covered strawberries to raise money to use for a bigger purpose. In March 2020, she raised enough money to surprise many of her friends who also have hearing loss with the new American Girl Doll, Joss, who wears hearing aids just like them. Wyllow is an incredible advocate at such a young age. She is proud to wear her hearing aids and teach her classmates about them if they have any questions.
“I want to help others understand hearing loss. Being a HearStrong Champion means I have a place to voice to others why it is important to understand differences make us each unique.”