VOLUSIA COUNTY, Fla. – There are certain things -- like the sound of music or birds chirping -- that people sometimes take for granted. For one young girl, the possibility of being able to hear a bird's melody is something she's been wanting to experience pretty much her entire life.
Thanks to one organization, that long-awaited dream is now possible.
"It's a real blessing for our family. The one that she said she wanted to hear was a bird chirp," Ken Smith said.
Smith's pre-teen daughter, Colleen, will now be able to hear a bird's tweet. Colleen
was 5 years old when she was having trouble enunciating words and began falling behind in school.
"It's always heartbreaking to watch your child struggle. Her speech was being delayed and we couldn't figure out why. When she was about 2, we started telling her, trying to teach her how to walk and everything, and she would just -- totally oblivious to us -- she wouldn't. It's like she couldn't pay attention," Smith said.
Colleen's kindergarten teacher suggested a hearing test, which resulted in a hearing loss diagnosis.
The family soon found themselves in need of a solution, but hearing aids cost thousands of dollars. Thanks to Miracle-Ear, they haven't paid a penny for them.
"It's for people who do not have resources for hearing aids. People who do not have insurance, who don't have VA benefits," Donna Elbin, a hearing aid specialist and owner of the Miracle-Ear franchise in Daytona Beach, said.
Smith said the hearing aids have been life-changing for their family.
"It's a lifesaver to us. Her speech, her grades, everything. Self-confidence has just absolutely skyrocketed," Smith said.
Colleen recently switched the traditional hearing aids she had for six years for a smaller, improved set that is wireless.
"You can adjust the volume and you can change it depending on the situation," Colleen said.
Smith said Colleen's new set of hearing aids make it easier for her to wear them without people noticing them right away.
"Being a teenage girl, she's not gonna want to have them sticking out," Smith said about the much more discreet design of the new hearing aids. "More discreet, you know, she can maybe wear her hair up a little more."
Elbin said they were a great fit for a girl her age.
"We have fit her with something that's very invisible, something that's gonna be comfortable," Elbin said.
Elbin said since 2014, about 55 people in Volusia and Flagler counties have gotten results with Miracle-Ear.
"Thanks to Miracle-Ear, they came through for us and now coming through again with another set of hearing aids for our granddaughter. It's a big step for Colleen and for us because they live with us. We really enjoy her 24 hours a day, and this is really, really gonna open a new world for her," Richard May said about a new beginning for his granddaughter.
Colleen's hearing aids have state-of-the-art technology, with a retail price between $6,000 to $6,500.
There are several Miracle-Ear franchises throughout Central Florida, where specialists will assist with the application process if you apply to receive a pair at no cost.
To find a Miracle-Ear center near you, click here.