Drew Guardado, a fifth grader at Round Rock Christian Academy, struggled for years to hear his teachers when they faced the chalkboard.
Now, because of technologically advanced hearing devices that Don and Lori Cook donated to the school Feb. 13, Drew can hear his teachers regardless of what direction they face or where they stand in a classroom.
"I feel confident because I know that I can be almost anywhere else and hear what the teacher is saying," Drew said.
[Hearing] was like a very difficult game, but now I feel like I have a game and I know how to play it and I know how to win," he said.
The Cooks donated digital hearing aids and a miniature microphone to the school through Cook Hearing & Balance, their private audiological and hearing aid practice based in Austin, Cedar Park and San Marcos.
The miniature microphone is worn on a teacher's lapel and uses Bluetooth technology to connect to the digital hearing aids that Drew uses. The items are valued at more than $5,000.
Lori Cook said that in addition to hearing better, Drew no longer has to worry about wearing conspicuous hearing aids and explaining what they are to his curious classmates.
"The beautiful thing is not only can you not see [the hearing aid], but [the teacher] can be up to 30 feet away," Lori said.
In addition, the teacher can turn the microphone volume up and down and on and off if need be, she said.
"This donation will allow Drew to thrive at our academy," said Bethany Leffingwell, executive director of Round Rock Christian Academy Foundation.
Drew's parents, Anthony and Sonia Guardado, said they were grateful to the school for being "so supportive" of Drew's needs and the implementation of the new hearing devices.
"This really does make him a regular student," Anthony said.