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By the time Kaja was three years old, her mother knew something was wrong.
"She put me at the top of the stairs and yelled up to me, 'ice cream!'. When I didn't respond my parents took me to the Canadian Hearing Society," Kaja recalls.
Kaja was diagnosed with hearing loss and fitted for one hearing aid. By age 13, she needed a second hearing aid.
"Suddenly the world was in stereo. I remember getting into the car and asking, 'what's that noise?' It was the clock ticking. I could hear it for the first time!"
The Canadian Hearing Society has been an important part of Kaja's like ever since. Her audiologist Jamie recommends hearing aids based on her needs and never makes her feel rushed.
And so, when Kaja's sons, Jordan and Ethan, both started showing signs of hearing loss, she knew just where to turn. Soon the three of them were coming to the Canadian Hearing Society together.
"The Canadian Hearing Society has been there for me consistently for 40 years. Now that I'm a mom, I appreciate them even more as I see them supporting my own kids. Jamie and the other staff go above and beyond to make us feel comfortable."
With tears in her eyes, Anna-Lee looked into the sweet face of her one-month old baby.
Soren had just been diagnosed with mild to severe hearing loss in both ears and Anna-Lee and her husband Nick were scared. What would this mean for him? Would he have a difficult life? They didn't want him to struggle.
But they didn't feel bad for long. They learned there's plenty Soren can do with some help along the way. Their son can lead a happy, independent life with support from the Canadian Hearing Society and thoughtful friends like you.
Thanks to donors like you, Soren will always have a place to turn for valuable resources and understanding.
Soren's family first walked into the Canadian Hearing Society when he was about a year old. They didn't know it yet, but Soren was about to meet someone who would play a crucial role in his language development and his life - his speech-language pathologist Almut.
From the very beginning, Almut was very encouraging. She taught the family how to play with purpose - making the sounds of trains, planes and animals to help with Soren's speech development.
We wish we could tell you Anna-Lee and Nick feel confident every day but there are times when they still worry about Soren's future. In those moments, Almut is there to remind them about all the wonderful progress Soren is making.
"It's such a relief to have someone we can turn to - an expert in the field who is connected to a variety of great resources for our child - and donors like you who support the Canadian Hearing Society." says Anna-Lee.
Glenn was no stranger to ringing in his ears.
As a semi-professional musician, he often experienced it after live shows. It had always gone away before. But then one night, the ringing didn't stop.
"After two weeks of a relentless roar in my head, I came to the grim realization that it wasn't going away," said Glenn. "And then the panic set in. And the crippling depression. And the overwhelming fear that my life, as I knew it, was over."
Glenn's doctor diagnosed him with tinnitus - ringing of the ears - and hearing loss. Imagine how discouraged Glenn must have felt when he learned there was no cure. And then he came to the Canadian Hearing Society and found the help and hope he desperately needed.
"I met with some incredibly helpful people who truly understood what I was going through. They offered many suggestions for things I could do to help cope."
Just as Glenn was getting back on his feet, he suddenly found himself homeless, jobless and completely overwhelmed. Remembering his positive experience with the Canadian Hearing Society, he came back, this time to meet with Meher, one of our General Support Services counsellors.
Meher helped Glenn deal with other agencies, guiding him through the application process and making phone calls on his behalf. She listened empathetically to the challenges Glenn faces with tinnitus and hearing loss.
"At the Canadian Hearing Society, I feel like I'm being truly listened to and understood. It took me a while to realize that the goal is not only to survive the challenges, but to actually rise above them. And with the Canadian Hearing Society by my side, I will able to do that."
Hiroko moved to Canada from Japan in 2005. A few years later, she was watching TV with friends when they all started laughing. She thought she had been following along with the program, but she didn't know what was so funny. Because of her hearing loss, situations like this were becoming more and more frequent. She was tired of missing the joke.
Thus began a journey that brought Hiroko to CHS, where she took advantage of the many programs and services available through CHS's circle of care.
Over the course of several years, Hiroko has used a wide range of CHS services and personnel, including our audiologists, a speech-language pathologist, employment consulting services, hearing help classes and mental health counselling.
She has also purchased assistive listening devices through CHS and participates in a self-help group for practicing English conversation.
With CHS's help, Hiroko now has a nursing job, hearing aids, and a whole lot more confidence.
"Today, I hear better, so I have more confidence for socializing, working and having fun in my private life. Thank you, CHS!"