DALLAS - A Dallas dad is wearing a pair of purple hearing aids he does not need to make sure his little girl hears loud and clear.
Four-year-old Truly Urso has hearing loss that her dad, Joe Urso, said was discovered about a year ago. She was losing the ability to hear higher frequencies in the normal hearing range, and he worried about potential speech and learning difficulties.
At the University of Texas at Dallas, he had Truly outfitted with a pair of hearing aids that are purple for Truly's favorite color.
Earlier this week, she received an upgrade to those hearing aids. They are now connected to a transmitter that a parent or school teacher can wear around their neck, and the sounds are transmitted via FM signals directly to Truly's hearing aids.
The technology also makes the use of headphones unnecessary because the device can also be plugged into televisions, computers, DVD players, and mobile devices enabling her to hear music and education programs directly through her hearing aids. At her Tuesday appointment at the Callier Center, Truly smiled when she was the only one in the exam room who could hear "Let it Go" from the movie Frozen broadcast only to her hearing aids from an iPhone.
Joe Urso wanted one more upgrade. He had Truly's doctors do a quick inspection of his own ears with an otoscope to prove it tickled his ears too. Then the Callier Center team presented him with his own hearing aids they'd ordered weeks before. His hearing aids are purple just like his daughter's, but he doesn't need them.
"In fact, sometimes when she doesn't want to wear hers, she'll say, 'Daddy wear yours and I'll wear mine,'" he said. "So it's been a very effective tool for us."
He said that without hearing aids, his daughter had a tendency to withdraw from social situations. When wearing them, there was the concern that she'd feel different, perhaps ostracized as the odd one out when she started school. He wanted a pretend pair of hearing aids for himself so he could model good behavior for his daughter while also proving there was nothing wrong with rocking a cool pair of purple hearing devices.
"He doesn't want her hearing to stand in the way of her learning, and I think that's great," said Dr. Kenneth Pugh, with the Callier Center. "If your kid's enrolled in soccer, you're going to go to soccer. Your kid has piano lessons you're going to do that too. So this kind of fits that mold."