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Ella and Aubrey

Rae and Drew Snyder, parents of 3 year old twins, Ella and Aubrey Snyder and baby.

Website PHOTO Ella Aubrey HuggingWhen we found out we were having twins, our emotions were in overdrive. We were excited and nervous about braving parenthood for the first time, let alone with multiples. My husband has a genetic variation called Waardenberg’s Syndrome and is deaf in one ear: his eyes are different colors and he is prematurely gray. His biggest concern was that both girls would have hearing loss in both ears. The girls failed their infant hearing tests in the hospital; however, the audiologist was hopeful and said that many infants fail the test due to fluid in the ears after birth. The second test showed a pass for both girls in the right ear. We were thrilled and put our fears to rest. We assumed both girls were getting plenty of auditory input and began to see them grow and develop in many ways. Ella, however, still seemed to be behind Aubrey in speech development. She was not babbling and we became concerned once again. Without Aubrey to compare her to, we may not have noticed her delay. We pursued additional testing and our doctor suggested she have tubes put in her ears to help reduce the fluid. During the surgery he performed an additional hearing test and confirmed our suspicions that Ella was not able to hear in either ear.

We fitted Ella with hearing aids for a few months: despite powerful amplification, they did not help her. When the twins were 10 months old, he referred us to the Dallas Ear Institute (DEI) in Dallas, TX. Ella underwent an ABR test, which confirmed profound hearing loss in both ears. My husband and I were crushed. We had no idea what was going to happen and it wasn’t until we met with Dr. Peters at DEI and his team that we learned about cochlear implants. Dr. Peters explained the surgery and follow-up care in detail and after having all the necessary tests, Ella had surgery in April 2012. Her implants were activated the next month and for the first time she heard the voices of her mom, dad, twin sister and grandparents!

We began Auditory-Verbal Therapy with Linda Daniel at HEAR in Dallas, making the 3 hour round trip drive each week. The hard work paid off as we see our precious daughter talking to her sister all day long and calling “Mommy” and “Daddy” from her crib when she wakes up every morning. She has been hearing for over a year and a half now and continues to amaze us with her progress: she says many words and phrases every day and often copies what her sister says. With her cochlear implants and well-established listening skills, our daughter is an active, hearing-chattering toddler who has blessed us beyond measure. When Linda at HEAR In Dallas started working with Ella, she had Aubrey involved in the sessions to make sure her language was developing well. She explained to us that single-sided deafness can result in deficient communication development and encouraged to embellish our language with Aubrey as well.

I truly believe that God does not give you more than you can handle: Ella is proof that with the help of family and lots of prayer, miracles can happen. The girls’ progress–with cochlear implants and the services we receive at HEAR In Dallas–has been nothing short of miraculous!