Dec 2019 CBS Pittsburgh

Gus KollarWhen their son Gus wasn’t speaking at nearly two years old, Eve Kollar and her husband were concerned. “He was reacting to movement and changes in light, but not so much to sounds,” said Eve Kollar. An evaluation at Children’s hospital revealed Gus had profound hearing loss, in both ears. “We were devastated when we learned that he was deaf, because it brings up a lot of feelings inside that we’d missed something,” Eve Kollar added.

Dr. David Chi, Chief of Pediatric Otolaryngology at UPMC Children’s Hospital says there’s no way the couple could’ve known what Gus was experiencing. “He had a genetic cause of his hearing loss,” Dr. Chi explained. “There are no other conditions with a genetic hearing loss except for the hearing loss itself.” At Children’s, the family met Dr. Chi. The first step for Gus was trying hearing aids. Eve Kollar explained that didn’t work: “We tried out our Shop-Vac, right behind him, and he didn’t even turn to hear that sound. He wasn’t startled by it.”

The family then decided Gus would have cochlear implant surgery. “Dr. Chi told us that we would have him implanted around Thanksgiving,” Eve Kollar said, “which he was implanted November 27th and we’d have something to be thankful for, and he would be activated before Christmas, so we’d have one of the best Christmases ever, and we really did that year.”

After years of work — learning to recognize sounds and speak — Gus is now thriving in middle school. He shared, “I play violin, I play guitar, I play soccer.” He and his mother are grateful for Children’s. “It’s a very emotional moment when you know that your child does not have one of the five senses and then to be able to provide that,” Eve Kollar said. The priceless gift of hearing, that’s opened a new world for Gus.

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They are based in Western Australia and supported by Senses Australia.

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