Suzannah and Avery: Bringing style to hearing aids

By Amber Rottinghaus

Suzannah and Avery
As 3-year-old Avery Noel was handed her first pair of hearing aids in the doctor's office, her family earnestly leaned forward while they were put on. This moment was the final step in a series of failed hearing tests since she was born, the results of which showed she had mild to moderate hearing loss. When the doctors first suggested that Avery would need to "be aided" her parents were skeptical. Her mother, Suzannah Parker, said her daughter was talking and seeming to get along fine. Though her vocabulary was not as advanced as other children's her age, and her sentence structure was, at a times, a bit Yoda-like, Avery was doing well in all aspects. But after she began wearing her hearing aids, her true personality was enhanced. After the hearing aids were placed in her ears for the first time, Avery looked around at her parents and the doctor with a wide grin. "It's louder now!" she excitedly exclaimed, drawing a few tears from everyone in the room. Avery Noel Once her hearing began to improve, Avery became more conversational with her peers at Sunday school and began singing endlessly throughout the day. Upon entering preschool, she began speech therapy to improve her sentence structure and continued this throughout kindergarten. Though her parents were worried about how her hearing might negatively affect her in school, they learned they had nothing to worry about. With the help of an FM system and special headphones for computer class, Avery excelled in school, being one of the top readers in her class. Avery was also very popular among her classmates, not only because of her outgoing personality and kind heart but also because of her sparkling earmolds and their "accompanying bling." Immediately after Avery received her hearing aids, Suzannah began making hearing aid charms to allow her daughter to wear her hearing aids with pride. After making some for another girl in the audiologist's office, Suzannah decided to open her own Etsy shop, called Purple Cat Hearing Aid Charms. The shop not only offers fun hearing aid charms but also Tube Trinkets, Cochlear decor, security headbands, and clips for boys and girls alike. "I never want a child to feel that they are not equal to those without hearing aids", Suzannah said. " I never want a child to feel ashamed." Since then, the shop's main supporter and inspiration have been Avery, now 6 years old and going on her third year of being aided. Since that first day in the doctor's office, Avery's hearing and speech have greatly improved. Today, she enjoys attending ballet classes, playing little league baseball, drawing, hiking, singing, swimming, riding her bike, playing with animals, and spending time with her older brother. Though her parents sometimes miss the "Yoda speak", they are grateful for their daughter's progress. The only setback to Avery's hearing aids? She can take them out when she doesn't want to hear her parents telling her to pick up her toys. She didn't want to speak but she wanted to show others how easy it is to put in your hearing aid However, there are still times when Avery questions her need for hearing aids, especially when she never sees other children with them. Her parents simply tell her they help her hear like glasses help you see. After coming across, Avery and her mom love seeing other children just like her and reading their stories. Avery even used the page to post a video to show other children just how easy it is to put in their own hearing aids, as well as show off her hearing aids' bling. According to Suzannah, the video was all Avery's idea. She was so proud to be able to put them in all by herself that she wanted to show everybody. She told me, "See! Kids can do it! Kids can do anything!"