Twelve-year-old Eliza Peters owes her hearing to the ear surgeries she underwent and the hearing aids she received at Loyola University Medical Center.
Eliza, who plays golf and basketball and likes to dance, is giving back by raising money to buy hearing aids for local children who cannot afford them.
Her fundraising drive, Hear the Cheers!, has raised more than $18,000 so far.
Eliza has raffled Cubs tickets at her hometown Geneva High School and spoken to the Geneva Lions Club, which made a donation. She has spread the message about Hear the Cheers! through word of mouth and on Facebook and Twitter.
Eliza teamed up with ESPN SportsCenter anchor Sarah Spain to establish and promote Hear the Cheers! Spain’s tweets about Hear the Cheers! have been retweeted by NBA and WNBA stars and deaf actress Marlee Matlin. The Chicago Hearing Society, another major supporter, has created a page on its website for Hear the Cheers!
Eliza recently was honored by the HearStrong Foundation, an organization that advocates for hearing loss awareness, education and support.
Eliza will begin the seventh grade at Geneva Middle School North this fall, and she plans to launch a new fundraising effort in January.
When she was younger, Eliza suffered multiple ear infections. At another center, she received ear tubes to ventilate the middle ears and prevent further infections. She developed eardrum perforations as a result.
Eliza came to Loyola’s Hearing Center and Audiology Services. She saw John Leonetti, MD, who determined that in addition to punctured eardrums in both ears, Eliza had a cyst called a cholesteatoma in her left ear.
Leonetti first performed surgery on Eliza’s left ear. He removed the cyst and repaired the eardrum with Eliza’s own tissue. Four months later, Leonetti performed a second surgery to repair the right eardrum.
Audiologist Kyle Raterman, AuD, fitted Eliza with micro hearing aids in each ear. Custom earpieces are worn in each ear and are attached to micro sound processors located behind the ears. The devices process and amplify sound to provide the best possible hearing, Raterman said.
Eliza’s mother, Amber Peters, said that when Eliza is wearing her hearing aids, her hearing is virtually normal. “The surgery and hearing aids together probably saved Eliza’s hearing,” she said.
Loyola's Hearing Center & Audiology Services offers an experienced team of physicians and staff, and a full range of services and progressive therapy to treat neonatal, pediatric and adult patients with hearing loss.