Meet Reyna Guzman-Marroquin, a 2.5 year old toddler born with unilateral Microtia and Atresia of her right ear. Reyna lives in Fort Morgan, Colorado and is your typical little girl who is fun spirited and excited to begin talking and singing. Shortly after Reyna was born, her mom, Magdalena Marroquin-Ramirez, began noticing that Reyna wasn’t as vocal as Reyna’s other siblings were at her age (Reyna is 1 out of 6 siblings). Magdalena was informed about Colorado’s Early Intervention program and how speech services could help Reyna along with obtaining a bone anchored hearing aid (BAHA) to help her hear better. Just before Reyna turned two years old, Reyna was able to receive speech services through CHIP (a local hearing impaired program in Colorado) as she qualified for early intervention services based on a speech/language delay. Reyna’s auditory skills were also delayed.
Once trialing a traditional bone conduction hearing aid (BCHA), Reyna’s mother inquired about the newer BAHA that was available, but there was no funding for a BAHA as Reyna’s family does not have the financial income to provide for family insurance. Reyna’s mother had followed up with Children’s Hospital Colorado in regards to qualifying through Medicaid to obtain a hearing device for Reyna, but was not approved through Medicaid. Reyna’s resource coordinator for early intervention services, Annette Landes, M.A., CCC-SLP, of the Colorado School for the Deaf and Blind, decided to apply for a hearing device on behalf of the family through the Ear Community Organization to see if Reyna could obtain a BAHA. Annette knew that “with Reyna’s speech and language delay that through the use of a BAHA it would assist in maximizing her potential for adequate development in this area.” Annette and Magdalena knew that Reyna was also not able to localize sounds and that this is a significant safety issue. A BAHA could help Reyna hear better in general and localize sounds better. Annette and Reyna’s mother, Magdalena, were concerned about Reyna learning as she will be entering preschool this fall (2015). Annette states that “research has clearly shown that children with unilateral hearing loss are at a great disadvantage in the school setting if not appropriately aided supported with therapy resources….Reyna will have access to her peers, incidental learning opportunities, sound awareness/localization only if she is aided with a BAHA. Without this amplification, she may well become part of the statistics that indicate a high incidence of grade repeating and social isolation.”
On June 18th, Reyna was fitted with a new Cochlear Americas Baha 4 on a soft band head band by Dr. Emily Nightengale of Children’s Hospital Colorado. Since Reyna has been aided with her new Baha 4, both Magdalena and Annette have witnessed how Reyna is more responsive now with a Baha. Melissa Tumblin, Founder of Ear Community, states “By giving Reyna the chance to hear better with her new Baha 4 will not only allow her to thrive during her first year of preschool, but this is the time to help Reyna hear better during her critical years of development (birth to 5) so she can become more vocal as her language skills develop.”
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 Reyna live a better quality of life by donating a new Baha 4 processor so she can hear better in school,” says Melissa Tumblin.
A special thank you to Annette Landes for applying to Ear Community for a Baha 4 for Reyna. Thank you to Dr. Emily Nightengale for donating her time and services to help fit and program Reyna with her new Baha 4 processor. Ear Community would especially like to thank Kerri Lewandowski and Joanne Kernie of Cochlear Americas for donating the Baha 4 to our foundation so Ear Community could help Reyna 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.”
Thank you and congratulations on hearing better and becoming more vocal Reyna!