WRIGHTSVILLE BEACH, NC (WWAY) -- Living on the coast, playing in the water is something we often take for granted; same goes for the gift of hearing. One young lady in our community can now do both thanks to a hearing aid manufacturing company that has come up with a waterproof digital hearing aid.
"I was really just cut off from everybody," 14-year-old Lydia King said. "I couldn't hear a thing. I was just alone."
King was born deaf.
"When your baby is born, you know, they hand you your baby, and everything looked perfect, and we went home," Lydia's mom Julie said. "They weren't testing the hearing on newborns at the time that Lydia was born, so she was actually 12 months old when we realized that she couldn't hear."
That's when Julie and Alan King took their daughter to see audiologist Mary Maddock. She has been working with the King family ever since to make sure Lydia has the right equipment so that she's not isolated from the world.
"If you're not able to hear people, you don't know what they're saying," Dr. Maddock said. “You don't know why they're laughing. You don't know what's going on."
Lydia's hearing loss can only be combated with a hearing aid, and once she got near water or even sweat too much, she went back to being alone.
"When your children are playing at the beach or in the water, you hear happy sounds: laughter and the kids talking and chattering," mom Julie said. "When Lydia was in the pool with her neighborhood kids and things, she was always alone and always left out, and it was just so sad."
Her sadness turned to joy in June when manufacturing company Siemens came out with the first and only waterproof digital hearing aid, the Aquaris.
"After I got these hearing aids on, I was just surrounded by all this sound, and it was just awesome," Lydia said.
Lydia says she loves all things water and her new found sense of freedom.
"Lydia deals with all her challenges just exceptionally well; better than most people that I have ever met," Dr. Maddock said. "She sees it as something to help her grow and be a better person."
"She's never let this stop her," Julie said. "She's always been happy and outgoing and energetic. I think she's just remarkable."
"It's presented a lot of challenges to me, but I've managed to work my way around them," Lydia said. "I really want to be successful in life, and I don't want to let my hearing impairment stop me."
The Kings said the device has been life changing.