Meet Luca Brooks, a one and a half year old sweet baby boy from Burke, Virginia. Luca has bilateral Microtia and Atresia and has been diagnosed with Branchio-Oto-Renal Syndrome. Luca was born premature (at 34 weeks) and spent his first days in the NICU. Today, Luca is full of energy and one of the happiest little boys anyone will ever meet.
After Luca was born, his parents, Anne Verna Brooks and Robert Brooks spent much of their time welcoming Luca into their lives and celebrated how beautiful he was. However, Anne wondered what challenges Luca would have and if he had any additional syndromes. Once Anne recovered, she started doing research about Microtia and Atresia and found Ear Community. She was relieved to find so many other families dealing with the same challenges and to see so many other children just like Luca, without ears. Once learning that Luca had hearing loss in both ears, Anne and Robert met with an audiologist and ENT to further evaluate Luca and inquire about what could be done to help him hear better. “After almost one year of constant phone calls, letters and e-mails, by ourselves, our Audiologist, and ENT, Aetna denied us coverage for our son to have a BAHA,” said Anne. While Luca was provided with a temporary loaner BAHA, Luca’s parents knew they needed to find help for Luca so he could hear better.
With their insurance coverage through Aetna not covering audiology visits or a BAHA, Anne and Robert applied through Ear Community for help with obtaining a BAHA for Luca. On June 6th, 2015, Luca was fitted with an Oticon Medical Ponto Plus Power to help him hear better. Anne and Robert have noticed already that “Luca has begun starting to mimic words a lot more now vs mostly just signing like he was before!” Anne mentions that “while Ear Community (and Melissa) have already provided us with more emotional support and educational resources than we could have ever asked for, we are extremely grateful for also receiving help for Luca by being able to obtain a BAHA for him so he can hear better, thank you!”
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 Power BAHA w/streamer to Ear Community so that it could be donated to little Luca to help him hear better and so that he could hear the sounds of life that will help him begin speaking more. 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.”All of us here at Ear Community are so happy for Luca being able to hear better with his new Oticon Medical Ponto Plus Power. We are even more excited to hear that Luca is beginning to talk more and be given the chance to experience a life with sound. “This is just the beginning of how bright your future will be from here on out…good luck to you in your future Luca and enjoy all of the sounds of life around you!” – Melissa Tumblin.
Founder and Executive Director