Gymnastics and hearing loss: Community Spotlight
Meet Sophia Not, a thriving seven-year-old gymnast who wears bilateral cochlear implants. Sophia enjoys competing in Level 2 gymnastics. Her mother, Danielle Vickers, has played a pivotal role. She has reached out to share their experiences.
Hearing Loss Journey
The family’s story began with a failed hearing screening at birth. Before leaving the hospital, one ear failed the screening. The physicians were suspicious of fluid in the ear. Thankfully though, they recommended Sophia meet with an audiologist at an ENT. From the ABR test results, they concluded that little Sophia had bilateral sensorineural hearing loss that ranged from severe to profound.
After receiving this surprising news, the Vickers had to quickly research their options for what they believed was best for Sophia. The overall decision was to get bilateral cochlear implants at 15 months of age. Her mother says she was was initially nervous about the surgery, but now wishes they had gone through with the implantation sooner.
“Never give up,” she says, sharing advice with others who may be going through a similar experience. “Don’t be scared. Surgery sounds more intimidating than it is. The kids are so resilient. The same night of surgery, Sophia was bouncing off the walls. Continue to have therapy. Improvement comes at the child’s speed!”
“Never give up. Don’t be scared. Surgery sounds more intimidating than it is.”
Gymnastics and Hearing Loss
Navigating gymnastics with hearing loss is a unique but enjoyable experience for Sophia. As a Level 2 gymnast, Sophia needs to wear a headband around her head to secure her cochlear implant processors. When Sophia began in gymnastics, she had specific challenges to overcome.
“When Sophia first started, she had a hard time following the beat for her floor routine,” her mom says. “Over time, she mastered it by lots of practicing.”
Sophia’s parents have noticed that she has a more difficult time hearing when there is background noise. Her mom wishes that people recognized that hearing loss causes brain fatigue due to the strenuous effort it takes to listen.