Meet Astrid De La Cruz Chinchilla from Fairfax, Virginia. Astric is a beautiful 13 year old girl who was born with grade 3 Microtia and Atresia of her right ear originally from Guatemala. Astrid loves being around her friends and enjoys school, but is struggling with hearing everyone in conversations. Astrid’s mother, Maria, is very concerned about her safety around cars and buses at school. She is also worried about Astrid’s academics now that she has begun attending middle school. Maria says that Astrid “has been a victim of bullying in the past, which has affected her self-esteem.” If given the chance for Astrid to hear better with a hearing device, Astrid’s mother believes that “it would not only help Astrid hear, but it would also normalize her life at home and at school, and would improve her academic success.” However, because Astrid was born in Guatemala, she does not qualify for Medicaid and through the family’s medical coverage through Kaiser, through a program for children called the Medical Care for Children Partnership (MCCP), the program is very limited and does not offer full medical insurance coverage. Astrid has two siblings that she adores, one having autism.
Maria had inquired about help for obtaining a hearing device so Astrid could hear better. She was told about the Ear Community Organization and soon applied for a hearing device for Astrid. On November 10th, 2016, Astrid was fitted with her new Baha 5, donated by Cochlear Americas, through the Ear Community Organization. Dr. Colby Glidewell at the Kaiser Permanente – Tyson’s Corner Audiology Department in Falls Church, Virginia, donated her time and services to help fit and program Astrid’s new Baha 5. Dr. Glidewell said that “the fitting brought tears of joy to both Astrid and her mom in the appointment.” “It was fun and a wonderful experience for this family, said Dr. Glidewell.” This was a wonderful opportunity for Astrid to feel more confident, especially after following the first National Microtia Awareness Day (November 9th) that took place just the day before Astrid’s audiology appointment for her fitting.
Ear Community is a nonprofit organization that helps the Microtia and Atresia community worldwide. Ear Community is so very thankful for the help that it receives and when other organizations come together to help Ear Community with its mission, to help children and adults born with Microtia and Atresia. “Thank you to Cochlear Americas for helping Astrid hear better and feel more confident upon entering middle school. Thank you for donating her new Baha 5 processor so she can hear better,” says Melissa Tumblin.
Ear Community would especially like to thank Kara Golmont of Cochlear Americas for donating the Baha 5 to our organization so Ear Community could help Astrid hear better. “Cochlear is the global leader in implantable hearing solutions. It has a dedicated global team of more than 2,500 people who deliver the gift of sound to those with hearing loss in over 100 countries. Its vision is to connect people, young and old, to a world of sound by offering life enhancing hearing solutions. In 2013, Cochlear celebrates 100,000 Baha System users – all with unique stories of how being able to hear again has impacted their lives. The Cochlear promise of “Hear Now. And Always” embodies the company’s commitment to providing its recipients with the best possible hearing performance today and for the rest of their lives.”
Astrid, all of us here at Ear Community are so happy that you can not only hear better now in school, but so you can be safe around cars and also be able to enjoy your friends more by carrying on with them and not having to miss a beat with your hearing loss.
Melissa Tumblin, Executive Director
Ear Community Board Members