Elyana's childhood is now more carefree thanks to Gordon
Hearing loss can have a devastating impact on children. Elyana was struggling until hearing dog Gordon gave her a lifeline.
Elyana’s mum Silvie explains:
We first noticed signs of hearing loss in Elyana when she was just two and a half years old. Thereʼs no history of deafness in our family so, at first, we thought her language delay was because of her bilingual upbringing ‒ English, Dutch and Spanish.
Call it motherʼs intuition, but I felt that something wasnʼt quite right from early on. Yet even when she was finally diagnosed, it still came as quite a shock. Elyanaʼs hearing loss has been progressive, and despite genetic testing, the cause remains unknown.
Elyana then received cochlear implants. Surgery went well and she recovered quickly, receiving lots of speech and language support as she transitioned to primary school. But while Elyana adapted to the implants, she faced other challenges around bullying and making friends.
Perhaps you have experienced hearing loss yourself, or someone you love has. You might recognise some of the anxieties that Elyana has struggled with.
At her lowest points, she would tear her own hair out in clumps, or would spend the day vomiting when everything got too much. We thought the carefree moments of childhood were gone for good. For us as parents, it felt really tough. We didnʼt know how to help, or what to do for the best.
But our BFG (Big Friendly Gordon) did.
The arrival of Elyanaʼs hearing dog, Gordon, has transformed her life, her confidence, and her self-belief.
Matching us with Gordon took some time ‒ and thatʼs a good thing! Gordon is our first dog as a family, and the wonderful Hearing Dogs staff were careful to make sure that not only would a dog fit into our life, but that we could offer a dog a safe and happy home. The hardest part for Elyana was waiting for her BFG! When we received the email saying she had been matched with a dog, the kids were running around the kitchen. We were all just so excited!
Your support has already made such a difference to families like mine. Right now, there are more children with hearing loss that could benefit from a dog like Gordon – can you help by sending a gift today?
Originally, we thought a hearing dog would offer Elyana safety and companionship – but Gordon gives her so much more. At night when she doesn’t wear her [hearing] processors, not being able to see or hear was very frightening. Elyana also had issues sleeping, which is a common issue for deaf children to experience. Gordon was able to give her reassurance that she wasn’t alone in the dark and silence – if a smoke alarm went off he would alert her'
He wakes her up in the morning by pulling her duvet off and gives Elyana focus and routine as she is responsible for feeding and brushing him every day. And when she returns from school, Gordon is over the moon to see her.
Elyana is totally committed to Gordon. Their bond is so strong and Elyana’s confidence has grown so much when she is out and about with Gordon, she’s like a different child.
Wearing his Hearing Dogs jacket, Gordon acts as a gentle reminder to people to be more considerate of her needs. He’s brought her out of shell socially too because she loves to show him off and talk to other dog owners about their dogs.
When Hearing Dogs for Deaf People piloted a scheme specifically for children, they had no idea what a success it would be. Today, there are many more deaf children waiting for a hearing dog like Gordon – to give them back their carefree childhoods.
We simply cannot imagine life without Gordon. Every single day we see the bond between him and Elyana grow stronger – but he wouldn’t be the dog he is without the kindness and support of the Hearing Dogs’ volunteers and trainers who taught him. We are so grateful to them and to you for helping to make this possible.
The cost of living crisis has means we all have a lot less disposable income, but your best gift could help provide the equipment and training for another hearing dog like Gordon. You could change the lives of another family like ours who are struggling with hearing loss.
With very best wishes,
Silvie, Elyana’s mum and Gordon’s ‘dog mum’
PS We would love another deaf child like our Elyana to benefit from the support, comfort, and reassurance that Gordon has brought not just to her life, but to our whole family.
Thanks to Gordon, she is positive and excited for the future and doesn’t feel that her deafness will stop her from achieving what she wants to.