FREDERICKTOWN — Christopher Spiers was diagnosed earlier this year with sensorineural hearing loss after suffering with hearing problems, probably since birth, according to his mother, Emily, who took on a second job to help pay for the $3,000 cost for each aid, since their insurance did not cover the devices.
A trip this summer to the Knox County Fair turned out to be a life-changing event for the 11-year-old. After stopping by the Mount Vernon Hearing Aid Co. booth in the Merchants Building to gain more information that could help Christopher, the Spiers family was informed Christopher won the drawing for a new hearing aid.
“They were so good to us,” said Emily. “The drawing for the hearing aid was for ‘normal age-related hearing loss,’ but they told us it was no problem and fitted Christopher with a hearing aid at no charge.”
The difference the device has made in Christopher’s life has been unbelievable, Emily said.
“It has been an amazing change,” said Emily in speaking of Christopher’s improvements. “It has made a huge difference in his confidence and his whole attitude ... everything is up.”
Enjoying the outdoors, Christopher has remained an active boy. “I like my 4-wheeler, hunting and fishing,” said Christopher. “I can now hear the birds in the woods much better.”
Sounds which are difficult for him to hear are low to mid-range, especially men’s voices, so Christopher taught himself to read lips. “He has trouble with sounds made when your lips are not pursed together,” said Emily.
Before receiving a hearing aid, Christopher could hear some things in a special way. He could actually feel some things — with his feet. When watching the Fredericktown fireworks six miles away this summer, his Dad, Darian, would say “Did you hear that?” Christopher would shake his head “no,” but would say, “but I can feel it in my feet.” At times when he couldn’t hear that someone was talking to him, his sister, Katy, would often alert him. “She became his ears,” said Emily.
Once a second hearing aid can be afforded, Christopher’s hearing should get even better, his mother said.
“This is not a permanent fix,” said Emily. “[His hearing] should actually get worse.”
Another help for Christopher has been the family dog, Bear. Adopted this past year through Petfinder.com, Bear and Christopher are now constant companions. “Bear will go find Christopher when we tell him. He wants to be with him. They are buddies,” said Emily.
The Spiers family is not discouraged with Christopher’s condition or the need to purchase new hearing aids every three to five years.
“We are so grateful and so thankful,” said Emily. “This is a once in a lifetime thing. We have a lot to be thankful for. God has always provided for us, and that’s not going to change.”