50 ears for 50 years: Charlotte Speech and Hearing gives people gift of hearing

Frances is bound to a wheelchair but she believes her life will soon change leaps and bounds. She's one of the 35 chosen to receive 50 donated hearing aids, celebrating 50 years of the Charlotte Speech and Hearing Center.

What's your favorite sound?

Waves crashing against the shore? The whisper of your a child? The sound of a song?

As 35 hand selected people know, the absence of sound is louder than anything.

"It's rough when you have it one day and the next day it's gone," says Frances, a Grandmother of 10.

"I'm Grammy."

Frances is bound to a wheelchair but she believes her life will soon change leaps and bounds.

She's one of the 35 chosen to receive 50 donated hearing aids, celebrating 50 years of the Charlotte Speech and Hearing Center.

"We're able to fit them with brand new digital devices, thanks to our sponsorships and some support of some hearing manufacturers as well, and provide that technology to give them the gift of hearing," says Shannon Tucker, Executive Director of the Charlotte Speech and Hearing Center.

Tucker says the total value of the hearing aids is $88,000, but the 35 people don't have to pay a dime. 

The fact that Frances is even getting a hearing aid tells an incredible story that goes much deeper than the quarter-inch device.

"I went to the doctor the other day and he said 'You shouldn't even be sitting here,'" says Frances.

She's broken both of her hips and overcome cancer twice. The radiation took almost all of her hearing, but not her spirit.

"I fight," she says with a snicker. "I'm nasty."

On the other side of the spectrum, Emil is a soft spoken boy going into the 3rd grade and in need of two hearing aides.

"He [was] born like that," says Emil's Dad, Erin.

Emil was born half deaf. And full of energy.

"He took a shower last night so he could be ready this morning," Erin laughs.

Finally, it's time to get fitted.

In a matter of seconds, Frances' eyes are wide-eyed, but it's really her ears who are ignited with sounds they haven't heard in years.

"I can't believe the difference!"

Emil is all giggles. He will finally be able to hear his teacher, all the time.

© 2017 WCNC.COM


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