Donated hearing aids allow dad to hear kids for the first time

When Brian Heath and his wife Erica Ellis-Heath have their third child next year, Brian will hear newborn sounds for the first time. He was around when the couple's older children, Blakney, 6, and Calix, 4, were born, but at the time, he could not hear.

Heath was born with profound hearing loss and he stopped wearing hearing aids about 10 years ago. When the children were born, the Heaths began saving up for new hearing aids. Despite the fact that Brain worked two jobs six days a week, they struggled to scrape together the money. "There was always something happening…baby being born, car breaking down, just different debts and things," he explained.

After learning how hard Heath worked, Luz Parra, a specialist at Belton Hearing Aid Center in Clermont, decided to help. She asked the company's non-profit foundation to donate the devices that Heath needed. In November, Heath was fitted for his new set of hearing aids.

He doesn't hear words clearly, but he can hear what's happening around him. He hopes that will help him get a new position at work. "It requires you to be able to hear and now that I have the hearing aids they've offered to train me in the position," he said.

Heath said the hearing aids help him help out more at home, too, because he can be more involved with the children. "I can have more fun playing with them and hearing them laugh. I can hear them in the other room if they start fighting or crying. I can take care of it," he said.

When the new baby comes, he'll be able to hear that child, too.