A superhero shared his super hearing with a 6-year-old in need of hearing aids at a Naperville hearing health center.
Riley Buckolz, 6, of Burlington, got new hearing aids recently from Batman, his favorite among all superheroes.
Riley's partial hearing loss was caused by pineal blastoma, a childhood brain tumor about the size of a sunflower seed, said his mother, Adena Buckolz.
The tumors and the radiation and chemotherapy used to treat them are caused Riley to lose the ability to hear several sounds, said Kara Houston, his doctor at Hearing Health Center in Naperville.
"The hearing loss that Riley has is in the high frequency ranges, like the sounds of F, H, TH and CH. Those high-frequency sounds give us clarity of speech," said Houston, who programmed and installed Riley's new hearing aids. "If he's not hearing those sounds, everything is going to sound muddled and not very clear."
Riley is receiving free treatment at the Hearing Health Center through support of the Fisher Foundation for Hearing Health Care. Phonak, LLC, donated his special hearing aids, which were decorated with the Batman logo to continue the super hearing theme.
The aids will help Riley hear teachers and peers more clearly so he can perform better in first grade.
"He needs to be able to hear those sounds in order to distinguish between words like show, how and feel, with all those consonant sounds which are very similar," Houston said.
• Daily Herald staff photographer Dan White contributed to this report.