If you visit a preschool classroom in the suburb of a midwestern city, you will be greeted by an extraordinary little girl named Corlena wearing pink sparkly boots and a big grin. The chatty three-and-a-half year old will tell you all about her big brother, Cayden, her dog, Jessie, and her beloved Grandmama. She will also show you how her hearing aids work. Corlena, who was born with hearing loss, received her first hearing aids at just a few weeks old.
For Corlena, hearing loss is a minor detail in a full and vibrant life. For Corlena’s parents, Kalonda and Kori, it initially felt like a tragedy. A warm and protective father, Kori worried that he wouldn’t be able to shield Corlena from the challenges she might face. He worried that she would never hear birds chirping or that she wouldn’t be able to connect with his mother, Corlena’s Grandmama.