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‘I’m really grateful’: Teenager is gifted with state-of-the-art hearing aids

SEATTLE —  About two to three out of every 1,000 children in the U.S. are born with a detectable level of hearing loss, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

That’s the case for one local teen who – for years – struggled to hear at home and in the classroom. But all that changed Thursday.

It’s been nearly seven years since Trent Riley could properly hear his mother’s voice. From the time he was born, Trent struggled to understand the world around him. And even though his mom says she had him fitted for hearing aids as a kid, that didn’t work out so well.

“He was young and he would always get careless and he’d lose them, so we lost about three different pair and at that point I didn’t have the money to get him another pair,” says mom Cheryl Hammond.

Growing up, Trent says he felt frustrated with larger hearing aids that made it difficult to understand his teachers and classmates at school.

“It was hard to hear everyone, either had to speak loudly to me or yell at me,” says Trent.

All that changed, thanks to the Miracle Ear Foundation, which has donated more than 10,000 hearing aids to 6,000 people nationwide. The foundation gifted Trent state-of-the-art hearing aids and lifetime care.

“We’re able to make hearing aids smaller and we’re able to help with different environments that we’ve never been able to help with” before, says hearing specialist Jane Ballenger.

Just a normal teen with so much on the horizon; after graduation Trent plans to attend culinary school in the fall.

“I’m really grateful, now that he can hear it’s going to help him out a lot,” says Cheryl.