It was a frightening time in Karen's life. Her baby, Victoria, was born premature at 32 weeks with many potentially life-threatening health issues.
One issue caused irreversible damage to the nerves in Victoria's ears. But because there was such an intense focus on keeping Victoria healthy, her hearing loss wasn't identified until she started school.
"We learned Victoria had profound hearing loss in both ears," Karen recalls. "I was concerned about her future and what limitations this would put on her. I was worried for her being accepted by friends, and not bullied."
Karen turned to Canadian Hearing Services and she's so glad she did. You see, this is where Victoria got her hearing aids. And it's where Karen learned about other products and services that would give her daughter a better quality of life.
"The kindness I was shown at Canadian Hearing Services was amazing. They made me feel empowered to help assist Victoria without having her feel like she had a disability," Karen says.
"Canadian Hearing Services helped Victoria understand and believe that she can achieve any goal she sets out to achieve," says Karen. "Thanks to them we have everything available to us to assist Victoria in achieving her dreams."
Like many other Deaf and hard-of-hearing Canadians, Brittney has faced a lot of barriers in her young life.
When she was 18-months-old, Brittney developed meningitis that destroyed the hearing in both her ears. "My parents were devastated. They didn't know how they'd handle me being Deaf."
Throughout her childhood, Brittney came up against one barrier after another - social and financial barriers as well as barriers to communication and her education.
And yet, Brittney worked hard and persevered. And when it came time to think about college, she applied to Canadian Hearing Services for a scholarship. "It was a huge honour to be granted a scholarship. It helped me afford rent and be more independent."
"With help from Canadian Hearing Services, I can get the support I need to follow my dreams," she says. "I can share my story and help raise awareness about every person's right to equality."
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 Canadian Hearing Services," 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!"
Canadian Hearing Services 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 Canadian Hearing Services together.
"Canadian Hearing Services 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 Canadian Hearing Services and thoughtful donors 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 Canadian Hearing Services 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 Canadian Hearing Services." 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 Canadian Hearing Services 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 Canadian Hearing Services, 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 Canadian Hearing Services, 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 Canadian Hearing Services 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 Canadian Hearing Services, where she took advantage of the many programs and services available.
Over the course of several years, Hiroko has used a wide range of Canadian Hearing Services programs 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 Canadian Hearing Services and participates in a self-help group for practicing English conversation.
With Canadian Hearing Services 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, Canadian Hearing Services!"