Ten-month-old Rhea Foust of Cullowhee, NC, loves to go for walks in her stroller, taste new food, and love on her puppy, Remus. Born with an extremely rare genetic condition, Nager syndrome, Rhea has underdeveloped bones in her face, hands, and arms. One of the side effects of Nager syndrome Rhea experienced was hearing loss due to Rhea lacking ear canals. Her doctor and parents were worried that any further wait in obtaining a hearing device would cause Rhea to suffer severe developmental delays, including the inability to speak. Heartbreakingly, the Foust’s insurance denied Rhea coverage of a life-changing hearing device.
Knowing the importance of a child gaining access to sound as soon as possible, WNC Bridge’s Children’s Services Fund was able to purchase a Cochlear™ Baha® Start hearing device for Rhea. This bone anchored hearing aid is helpful for children not old enough for a surgical solution and provides the child with the hearing performance and application needed to maximize language development on par with hearing peers.
Rhea’s mother, Lydia Foust, expressed her joy and gratitude for her daughter receiving the hearing device, “The BAHA immediately made a difference in Rhea’s development. She attempts to copy noises and has physically blossomed as well. On the day Rhea received the BAHA, she started responding to voices and recognizing Mom and Dad’s voices even when she couldn’t see us. Rhea now loves to dance to music and hasn’t stopped dancing since. She is also so much more content now that she can hear. Thank you doesn’t seem adequate to express our gratitude for WNC Bridge Foundation and its donors. Having a child with a rare genetic condition is not easy, but we have been blessed beyond measure. Rhea is our world, and we are so grateful for her ability to hear with your financial help.”