Hear Their Stories: Isla’s Hearing Loss Journey

It is such a joy for us to be able to share stories of our patients and their families. Every day at Hearts for Hearing, lives are being changed as we teach children with hearing loss to learn to listen and talk thanks to the support of our generous donors, the dedication of our talented clinicians and administrative teams, all working together to achieve our life-changing mission.

We are excited to share the story of fun-loving and energetic Isla(pronounced I-La).


19-month-old Isla is bubbly little girl who loves exploring, playing, reading, and dancing along to Elmo. “Her favorite place is, of course, the Gathering Place in Tulsa” says mom Jess. “We spend so much time at the Gathering Place exploring and playing. As soon as you ask, ‘Do you want to go to the park?’ she runs to the door, ready to go!” Isla and her parents have the best time exploring all the sights and sounds around them, and they love taking on new adventures there as a family.

Having dated four years and now married four years, Isla’s mom and dad, Jess, and Jacob, were “so excited” to begin their journey as parents. Their daughter’s unique name is a testament to her parents’ love story. They were engaged in Edinburgh, Scotland, and they chose to give their daughter a beautiful Scottish name.

Born three weeks early, Isla spent a week in the NICU before going home. Reflecting on Isla’s birth, mom recalls the uncertainty they faced in the hospital. “I have a rare disease that caused an undiagnosed placenta condition that was affecting her in utero, and we are very lucky that she is a happy and healthy toddler today.”

While in the hospital, Isla passed two newborn hearing screens. Following best practice, Hearts for Hearing scheduled a 6-month follow-up appointment to re-screen Isla, because babies who spend time in the NICU can have a higher chance of developing hearing loss after birth. It was at this follow up appointment where Isla showed moderate hearing loss in her right ear. “Jensen, Isla’s audiologist, sat with us and explained exactly what the results meant and what would happen next” her mom recalls. “She was so compassionate, answered all our questions, and gave us her contact information in case we needed anything. Even though we were shocked and unsure about what this meant, we knew we were in good hands.”

After a more comprehensive Auditory Brainstem Response (ABR) test, Isla was formally diagnosed with a moderate unilateral hearing loss in her right ear. “Like anything unexpected and new, it was overwhelming and a little scary when Isla was first diagnosed. It was easy to go down the path of “Why?” and “What if?” and wonder how we were going to best support Isla.”

Isla received her hearing aid at 9 months old. “We are so fortunate that we were able to get Isla fitted with technology to help her hear in her right ear” mom says. “It has been so incredible to see how Isla has progressed in speech therapy with Chelsea from month-to-month. She is developmentally on track with other children her age, and I am certain it is because of her hearing technology and the work we have done in speech therapy.” Her parents admit, it was a “new” and “scary” time when Isla was first diagnosed, but now Isla is 19-months old, and her parents say, “It all feels very normal these days. Our worries are much smaller, and our gratitude is bigger.”

Isla’s parents are excited for her future as she continues to grow and explore a world full of sounds. “We are so hopeful that Isla’s hearing loss will be something that builds resiliency and compassion in her as she grows. We hope she can face any challenges in life, and she is empowered by knowing how much she has already overcome. Isla is the best thing that has ever happened to us, and we are so lucky to be her parents!”


Find your people! Our “Baby & Me” group at Hearts for Hearing has become a little community of parents who support each other, love each other’s kids, and are generally just wonderful human beings. We are so thankful for them. Feeling unsure and worried about the future is normal for all parents, and it feels so much more intense with a child with hearing loss. There are so many more things to worry about! It is so helpful to have other parents to text questions to, confide in, or even just ask: “Does your kid pull out their hearing aid a thousand times a day?!” (The answer is yes, yes they do).”

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