Healthy Hearing Screening Leads to Life-Changing Moment

Brandon Reardon

For years, Special Olympics Florida athlete Brandon Reardon endured a frustrating and puzzling problem with his hearing.

The Duval County athlete suffered from mild hearing loss and couldn’t detect certain sounds – f, s, c, p, and th were particularly difficult. Doctors identified the issue but said he didn’t qualify for treatment.

But Special Olympics Florida helped change that.

At a Healthy Hearing screening, Brandon failed his hearing test, so Special Olympics Florida connected him with a specialist in Jacksonville Beach. After evaluating him, the specialist fitted Brandon with his first-ever hearing aid, provided by Starkey, a hearing technology company and a supplier of hearing instruments.

The payoff was immediate and, in the words of his mom, “life changing.”

“For the first time in his life, Brandon can hear those sounds,” says his mother Missy. “It’s been incredible.”

“Incredible” is pretty routine for Brandon. He weighed less than two pounds at birth and was born with a heart defect. He was given little chance of surviving. But with the help of his doctors and family, Brandon beat the odds. Today, he’s a Special Olympics Florida medal winner headed for the State Summer Games. He’s a great teammate and the sort of athlete who cheers for everyone around him – including volunteers.

Being part of Special Olympics Florida has meant much more to Brandon than finding a solution to his hearing loss. It’s helped him make friends, improve his confidence, and show the world he’s capable of amazing things. He’s already set his next goal: Becoming a Special Olympics Florida Athlete Leader.