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Your Donations to Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals Helped Bring Two Sisters the Joy of Hearing

Zoe and her younger sister, Jada, were born nine years apart, both perfectly healthy and happy baby girls. Over time, both girls suffered hearing loss before reaching their second birthdays. Zoe’s mother, Lisa, first noticed a change in Zoe’s behavior after her 18-month check-up.

“I knew something wasn’t right,” said Lisa. “She wasn’t talking yet or reaching milestones she should have reached by that age.”

Lisa, and her husband, Jonathan, took Zoe for a second opinion and discovered she had lost her hearing at some point between her newborn screening and the diagnosis. Zoe had severe-to-profound bilateral hearing loss and was fit with hearing aids.

In 2016, Jada, the family’s third child was born.  When Jada was 18 months old, Lisa noticed she was displaying symptoms of hearing loss, similar to what she previously saw in Zoe. She knew it was time to visit an audiologist.

The family was referred to Dr. Taylor Fordham at The Children’s Hospital of San Antonio. He determined that Jada also had severe-to-profound bilateral hearing loss and fitted her with hearing aids. One month later, doctors discovered Jada’s condition had not improved and immediately fitted her for a cochlear implant. The device consists of an external portion that sits behind the ear and a second portion that is surgically placed under the skin, with an electrode that goes directly into the cochlea (inner ear) and stimulates hearing nerve cells. It does the work of the damaged parts of the cochlea to provide sound signals to the brain. Jada spent two weeks recovering from surgery and returned to have the implant activated.

“The moment we had the implant activated was one of the best moments of our lives,” Lisa said. “We were in tears. Jada could finally hear us. She was initially afraid of the noise around her, but we were all so excited and grateful.”

Two months after the success of Jada’s implant, the family questioned if nine-year-old Zoe, who still wore hearing aids, could hear as clearly as her little sister. Doctors concluded Zoe could only hear 17 percent with her hearing aids and needed an alternate solution. The family returned to Dr. Fordham in hopes of another successful cochlear implant.

“I remember my husband shaking Dr. Fordham’s hand and saying, ‘Please take care of my daughter’, and he did; he took care of both our daughters, and he changed our lives,” Lisa said.

One year later, Jada has blossomed into a talkative three-year-old, speaking in almost full sentences, and Zoe has become more confident and social.

Because of donors like you, Zoe and Jada are able to live their lives full of beautiful sounds around them. Zoe has joined a Jiu-Jitsu class and says that it makes her feel strong. The family is grateful to The Children’s Hospital of San Antonio and Dr. Fordham for giving their daughters the chance to be a part of the world’s melodies.

To help support children like Zoe and Jada, visit The Children’s Hospital of San Antonio Foundation‘s webpage.