A 16-year-old girl survived a terrifying night. Friday, came a new chapter for her. It arrived in the form of a powerful gift.
There is quite a story that led 16-year-old Ella Neal to a building in Madison Friday. We’ll get to that. First, let’s go back.
Ella is a ballet dancer. Of course, it’s vital she has a way to hear the music as a person who is hard of hearing.
“I can hear higher frequencies better than low ones,” Ella said. “I was born with a rare condition called reversal slope.”
Ella had hearing aids on her dresser one night in March, the night tornadoes hit her Cookeville home.
“I think I went unconscious,” she said. “Everything just went black. I was very confused and yelling for my mom. Eventually, my neighbor came and found me under the house. I got out and the first thing I did was hug my mom.”
Cookeville was devastated by the tornadoes. The home of Ella’s family was leveled.
Seven months later, Ella was at Ascent Audiology and Hearing. Starkey Hearing Technologies heard Ella lost her hearing aids on that night in March, and they wanted to give her something.
“They’re called the Livio Edge Hearing Aids,” said audiologist Randi Yontz, pointing to hearing aids on her table. “They’re the most advanced hearing aids that have come in years.”
Yontz fit Ella with the new hearing aids and tested how well they worked.
“What time does school start?” said Yontz, turning a corner, testing the distance Ella could still hear her.”
“It starts at 8,” said Ella.
The hearing aids have Bluetooth that can help Ella better hear phone calls and the music for her dancing. While Ella used temporary hearing aids over the months since the tornado, she said the new ones have a clarity she’s never experienced before.
“I’m really grateful to have this opportunity, so I’m not taking it for granted,” said Ella.
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