Champion - Caroline Buhner

Student • Athlete

From: Fishers, Indiana

Experiencing Hearing Loss

Hearing loss has always been a part of Caroline’s life. When she was born, she failed her newborn hearing screening nine times, and Mary, her mother, learned that she was legally deaf. Mary knew immediately that she wanted to seek treatment for Caroline, who received her first pair of hearing aids at eight weeks old and participated in audio-speech therapy for six years.

“My mom tells me that she wanted me to have a normal life, go to a mainstream school, and participate in anything I wanted to,” says Caroline. “She wanted me to play the sports I love and not get special treatment just for something that is a small part of who I am. She wanted me to be the best person and not let anything stop me even if it seems impossible.”

Life for Caroline

Today, Caroline is a 4.0 student who has played competitive soccer, tennis, and basketball. She has volunteered for an organization called Hear Indiana for ten years, and has recently started volunteering for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation after her sister was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes. Caroline attributes much of her success to her hearing aids.

“Throughout my middle school years I have been able to do many things that would not have been possible without my hearing aids,” she says. “Being able to communicate with the Bible Study I lead for younger students has been very inspirational. Also, I have been able to get know each member on my yearbook staff and I have been able to connect and lead them on the right track as their editor. The things that make me who I am would not be the same if I was not able to communicate with everyone as I do now.”

In fact, she can remember a specific moment that symbolizes the impact hearing better has had on her life.

“The day I saw a deaf person trying and struggling communicate using sign language I realized how lucky I am that I am able to hear the waves crashing on the beach, the breeze against the trees, and to hear my own mother’s voice,” she says.

Why Caroline is a HearStrong Champion

Caroline is a HearStrong Champion because she loves inspiring others and is a strong advocate for those with hearing loss.

“I love being able to tell my story to others and helping to inspire other children. I believe that if you share your story, people will listen, follow, gain understanding, and then do it for themselves.”

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