TAMPA, Fla. — Wearing hearing aids can be tough for a lot of kids who need them. Bullying, being different, or just making sure they’re secure inside your ears are just some of the challenges doctors say young people face.

But there’s one Bay area nine-year-old using her hearing loss to help others gain confidence.

What You Need To Know

  • According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), about 2 to 3 out of every 1,000 children in the United States are born with a detectable level of hearing loss in one or both ears

  • One in eight people in the United States (13 percent, or 30 million) aged 12 years or older has hearing loss in both ears, based on standard hearing examinations, according to the NIH

  • Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital audiologist Dr. Brittan Levin said that pediatric hearing aides are totally different than adult hearing aides 

Nine-year-old Audrey Brown is all about the glitz, glam and sparkles. She loves doing crafts and making bracelets.

The nine-year-old fashionista is also a cancer survivor.

She was diagnosed with stage 3 liver cancer and treated at just five months old. She rang the bell as a baby with her mother and eight years later, she’s still cancer-free. But she’s not free of the effects her cancer treatment left behind, like hearing loss and the need for a hearing aid.

“It was my parents who actually realized I was starting to not hear good. They did a hearing test on me and they ordered hearing aids,” Brown said.

It’s the last thing the fourth grader said wanted to wear. “I didn’t want to wear them. Not until I came up with this ‘I want to make hearing aide charms’ idea,” she said.

Hearing aid charms became the confidence booster that she needed.

“Because people were bullying me in school and I was sick of it,” she said.

She said when she created the charms, she started to get her shine back and she wanted to do the same for others.

“Honestly, I’m just looking for them to boost and be a further confidence booster. Because I know when I first had them, I did not have any confidence,” said Brown.

So, with help from her mom, she got to work.

“I recently donated 175, so that’s almost 200,” she said.

At Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital, her audiologist, Dr. Brittan Levin said those donated hearing aid charms flew off the shelves as soon as they came in.

“Audrey is truly inspirational. As you can see, hearing aides — we can make them colorful. So when we select them, the child can pick the piece on the outside and they can actually pick the color for the ear molds, but that’s really it,” said Dr. Levin. “When children have hearing loss I tell them, kids are going to ask you, ‘What is that? What is on your ear? Why do you have that? And if you’re proud about it, and you’re like, yeah, this is my hearing aid and it helps me hear better look how pretty it is, do you like my charm?’”

Children having that feeling of pride is what Brown said lets her know she’s on the right track.

“It made me feel like special and I’m in the right place to do what I’m doing. And like I belong doing this,” Brown said.

Brown is planning on starting a business so she can offer the hearing aid charms to kids around the world. She wants to use some of her proceeds to help people who can’t afford hearing aids.