Meet Annika Silang-Ferrer from the Philippines. Little Annika is 4.5 years old and was born with grade III Microtia and Atresia of her right ear. Annika is a beautiful girl who is very happy and has one of the brightest smiles you will ever see. Annika looks forward to everyday and carries on playing with her older brother Alec, who thinks the world of his little sister.
When Annika was born, Annika’s parents, Alex and Grace, were surprised that she was missing her right ear. From the moment Alex and Grace left the hospital with Annika, following her birth, they both agreed that they “would mold Annika into a person with good values, with self-confidence, and full of love.” Alex and Grace focused on making sure that Annika would have everything she would need in life. They advocated for her and made sure that she had all of the right hearing tests conducted. Annika’s audiology results determined that she had a moderate to severe hearing loss (65dB) in her right ear and she was immediately scheduled for a BAHA fitting, but after learning that no further hearing tests were required at her age at the time, they stopped seeing her audiologists, especially since they could not afford the recommended BAHA that was suggested (in 2011). Annika’s parents were struggling financially and were encouraged to apply for medical assistance in the Philippines, but they were not able to qualify because they had an income, even though this income just barely covered their rent and expenses….they were considered over qualified.
Over the years, Annika’s parents learned to accept that they had to just let Annika grow up without a BAHA. As parents, they knew that they would do anything to help provide for Annika and it broke their hearts that they were unable to do something about getting her a BAHA that she needed, but they just did not know what to do….until they came across Ear Community. Not only did Annika’s family find support through Ear Community, but they also learned about the application process for obtaining a BAHA and so they applied. With Annika beginning school this coming June, they worried how she would get along because of her hearing loss. Alex and Grace focused on saving money for their children’s schooling and just didn’t have anymore funds available for a BAHA for Annika.
On April 16th, 2015, Annika was fitted with a new Ponto Plus processor w/streamer from Oticon Medical. The sounds that Annika heard while being fitted with her new BAHA made her smile even brighter than ever! “It was a whole new experience for her,” said her mother Grace. Many medical professionals and organizations came together to help make Annika’s special hearing day possible. Ear Community would like to thank Izovelle (Icee) Pieda of Oticon Medical for traveling across the Philippines to help with Annika’s fitting and for helping program her new Ponto Plus. Dr. Leah Tantoco, one of Annika’s audiologists, also helped with Annika’s fitting on her special day. A very special thank you to Tine Schou, Vice President of Marketing for Oticon Medical Denmark, who helped put Ear Community and Dr. Leah Tantoco in touch with Izovelle Pieda (of Oticon Medical) for the fitting. A very special thank you to Alan Raffauf, Vice President of Marketing for Oticon Medical US, for choosing to donate a new Oticon Medical Ponto Plus w/streamer to Ear Community so that it could be donated to little Annika to help her hear better and so that she could thrive in school this upcoming June. Thank you for everyone’s support and for helping Ear Community continue with its mission of helping individuals with Microtia and Atresia. Oticon Medical believes in helping individuals with hearing loss so that they can live a better quality of life. Oticon Medical is a well respected international hearing device manufacturer that is a part of the “William Demant Group [which has] 100-plus years of experience in audiology and sound processing and established manufacturing and logistics infrastructure.”
“Annika, we wish you the very best with your new Ponto Plus and we know that you will do great in school with your classmates,” stated Melissa Tumblin, Founder and Executive Director of Ear Community.
Founder of Ear Community
Ear Community Board Members