In honor of Mother’s Day, we asked Starkey Halo wearer Sara Lundquist and her daughter Greta to talk about how their relationship has helped influence Sara’s hearing journey. Greta, who is passionate about hearing health and Starkey, is her mom’s advocate, and Sara is proud to see Greta take such a passionate interest in hearing health and the philanthropic initiatives of Starkey Hearing Foundation. This is a special Mother’s Day post celebrating how a unique mother-daughter bond helped one mother achieve better hearing.
There is a special bond between a mother and daughter. Your daughter is like a mini version of you. You want to teach them and mold them in the ways of the world. One thing I want to instill in both of my children is empathy for others. I want them to understand that not everyone is the same, and that is ok.
My kids know I have a hearing loss. It is measured as a moderate severe loss. As a child, I had chronic ear infections and PE tubes which led to a mild hearing loss that has continued to worsen over the years. My kids know to face me and repeat what they said if needed. And a few years ago, my daughter got an inside look into my hearing loss and it changed her, for the better.
A couple years ago I was given the Hearstrong award for being an advocate on being proactive about hearing loss and treating my hearing loss. I was given the award at Starkey’s worldwide headquarters in Eden Prairie Minnesota. I had no idea what to expect on this day. My daughter and a friend accompanied me to the ceremony. What followed the ceremony is what lit a spark in my daughter’s eye and a flame in her heart.
We were taken to the Center of Excellence where I was given a hearing test. I didn’t know any of this was going to happen. The wonderful part of going through the routine hearing test was having my daughter was with me. She was right there when I was told that new hearing aids would be given to me. There were tears of gratitude and also a very raw feeling of gratitude since I knew the hearing aids I had weren’t up to the job of accommodating my hearing loss. It had taken me a long time to talk about my hearing loss, and even today, I am still working on being open about it. It is not something to be ashamed of but to have people watching me and being the center of attention about this topic made me feel very vulnerable .
Part of my intimate private life was on display. Every parent feels at some point or another that they need to hide the unhappiness of the world from their children, to hide the facts that not everything is perfect. But, that day my daughter not only saw that my hearing is far from perfect but she also saw what a wonderful giving heart Starkey possesses. She learned that we don’t shy away from these kinds of issues but tackle them head on and that it’s important to spread awareness of hearing loss and using hearing technology.
Greta got to see how impressions are made. She was able to follow my impressions and see how two sets of earmolds are made for each person. She saw how impressions are molded and polished. She saw how hearing aids were picked for an individual and how they are fitted. She was with me when my new hearing aids were ready and turned on for the first time. She saw my facial expression, one of amazement that I could hear her and everything around me so well. She saw the positive change my new hearing aids created.
And my Starkey experience didn’t stop there. I was able to try out SurfLink assistive listening technology. Sitting and watching a show with my kids and hoping the captions are correct is usually the norm but to hear the show directly streaming in my hearing aids was another thing altogether. Starkey opened my eyes that day. What they do there is amazing and it is now on my daughter’s top places to work when she is an adult.
That day when I went to Starkey with my mom opened my eyes to new possibilities for my life and goals I set for when I grow older. While my mom was getting her hearing aids I got to do some amazing things. I got to see where they were made and how they were made. I was able to interview and talk with Tani Austin. She soon became one of my role models. I watched Operation Change and would love to help on a mission and be able to see people's reactions like I saw on my mom's face. I was able to talk to some of the employees and they gave me a couple impressions. On my way home I couldn't stop talking about the experience. I had to do something with the passion I felt. I have decided to channel this passion into my 4H projects. This past summer I got a grand champion and was able to go to the Minnesota State Fair and present my project on hearing aids. I love to try and educate people on this subject. A blue ribbon and memories that will stay with me always.
The pride in a mother's heart can burst to the point of bringing forth tears of happiness. This has happened many times with my daughter. Seeing her step into that role of advocate and educator makes me so proud. My mother's instinct tells me this girl could go places in her life. Thanks to Starkey for lighting that small flame which grows with time and age.