‘These are the sounds that I have been missing’ Local nonprofit donates hearing aids to ODU student

NORFOLK, Va. - After a local student suffering from hearing loss did not have the means to pay for assistance, a local foundation stepped up to help.

Meet rising ODU senior Louisa Opoku. Brought to America from Ghana by her mother five years ago, she graduated from T.C. Williams High School in Alexandria. Now she is a proud Monarch.

"I am the first person in my family to be in college in the United States. It was such a big deal," said Opoku.

Louisa recently found out that she is losing her hearing.

"When I heard I had hearing loss, I felt like everything around me is going to change," she said.

The detrimental news put her education in question.

"I mean, what am I going to school for? Because at the end of the day, I am losing my hearing, I am going deaf. So, what am I going to do?" Opoku wondered.

"It's very hard for a lot of people who are not aware that they have a hearing loss to really come to terms with it, especially a younger person," said Rebecca McCarthy, hearing specialist for the Miracle Ear Foundation. "People are going to point fingers at me, and I will not be able to understand them. When I go to school, it's going to be hard for me when I go to school."

That's when the Miracle Ear Foundation stepped in to help.

"Since the Miracle Ear Foundation started in 1990, more than 16,000 hearing aids have been donated to more than 9,100 recipients in the U.S.," McCarthy said.

With that help, Louisa hears clearly for the first time in her life.

"I heard everything that she was saying, clearly and loud. It makes me feel excited that all these years I never realized that these are the sounds that I have been missing," Opoku said.

Thanks to Miracle Ear, many more people will be able to experience the same feeling Louisa did.

"It really is a genuine experience, and that's what is so great because people don't recognize how much this can impact people's lives," McCarthy said.