GiveHear Restores Lives

Grantee Spotlight: GiveHear Restores Lives

Over 10,000 people in Allen County are living with hearing loss, and many are also affected by poverty. In 2011, in response to this growing issue, the St. Joe Foundation became one of the first funders to support GiveHear (originally named HearCare Connection).

GiveHear’s mission is to build the self-worth of individuals by restoring their hearing potential and providing them with opportunities to engage with their communities through service to others. Each of the nearly 850 clients served by GiveHear in 2018 had a special story, including Evelynn.

Evelynn failed her newborn hearing screening—twice. Then at 6 months old, she was fit for hearing aids. “She has severe to profound hearing loss in her right ear and a mild to moderate loss in her left,” said her mom. She wore hearing aids consistently but her speech and language were not developing. Ongoing hearing testing showed she was not getting enough benefit from her hearing aids alone.

Her right ear was so bad that she was fit for a cochlear implant in 2014 and continued using a hearing aid in her left ear. The results were incredible! She started communicating more and was able to hear many sounds for the first time. When asking her parents if she liked to be read to they said, “Before, she would barely sit still to look at pictures. Now she follows along with the words.”

I love my magic ears because I can hear the animals when I go to the zoo with my mom.

– Evelynn

Although she began to blossom after receiving additional speech therapy and ongoing audiology services, after some time it was noticeable that the hearing aid in her left ear would no longer be enough support. Her parents chose to have her fit her with a second cochlear implant in 2017.

Evelynn is now 7 years old and thriving with her two cochlear implants, which she calls her “magic ears.” ‘I love my magic ears because I can hear all of the animals when I go to the zoo with my mom,” says Evelynn. She is detecting sounds with a normal hearing threshold and understanding 94% of speech. She loves school and has caught up with or is now ahead of her peers academically and in speech.