Rich and Lynne Andrews nearly lost their daughter Lynneah when she was only 5 months old. Fortunately, their little girl survived the bout of meningitis but it robbed her of her hearing. While relieved that she’d survived, her hearing loss was devastating news for her parents. Ministering through song and music at their church is a big part of their lives.
Lynneah’s parents might have lost hope, but a friend referred them to a doctor who might be able to help. The doctor thought the girl would be a good candidate for a new procedure, although at that time it was still experimental. It would involve installing cochlear implants in both of Lynneah’s ears. The high-tech implanted hearing aids would in essence be bionic ears. If all went well, her hearing would be restored and she could have a normal upbringing and live a life rich in sound, including music. There were some hoops to jump through, as her dad explained: “The FDA really wasn’t approving them. There had to be special things that had to happen in her. And she had met all the criteria even though she had been deaf for only six, seven weeks.” The surgery was a success and Lynneah became one of the first children in Florida to receive bilateral cochlear implants.
In Lynneah’s first time on stage, she played a baby in an Easter production. Six years later, she was playing an angel of the Lord in a Christmas recital, delivering a speech and then singing and dancing with family and friends. As her mom said, “You know, the Lord could have taken her home, but he has a plan for her life.” Her dad wants to remind everyone of the importance of early detection: “Had we not gone for that follow-up appointment after she left the hospital, a week later, it could have been months before we realized something was wrong.”
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