Champion - Connie Mitchell Tangonan

Speech & Language Pathologist • Advocate

From: Lahaina, Maui, HI

Nominated by: Kristen Chun, Au.D

Giving Back

"I am a speech and language pathologist teaching public school children from preschool through 5th grade. My special interest is our preschoolers because if we can begin early remediation, we can improve their long-term success in the educational setting as well as in their lives."

"I'm also an active member in our church, where my husband has been a minister there for 35 years. I play the ukulele in our choir and serve as one of the refreshment ladies."

Hearing Better

Hearing better has allowed Connie to be brought back into the world of communication. She knows that it has helped all of her relationships, especially with her husband and son. Her family has been her biggest support system with their continuous patience and understanding of hearing loss.

“I can now hear what I’m supposed to hear to be an effective speech and language pathologist. I can hear the difference between ‘sh’ and ‘s’ and all other sounds. It has truly been an amazing journey.”

“I have been missing the little things in life, such as birds chirping and clocks ticking.” Connie remembers the first time she heard her goldfish picking up pebbles from the bottom of the tank, and thinking, “What have I been missing!?”

Experiencing Hearing Loss

Connie first experienced hearing loss at the age of 16. She had a hearing screening in high school, but did not pass it. She ended up receiving her first hearing aids in her early 20s, but she didn’t feel as though they were helping.

“After 20 years, I finally sought help and received more advanced hearing aids. However, after a while those began to lose their effectiveness, and I thought that nothing could help. My audiologist suggested that I would be a great candidate for a cochlear implant. I pursued his suggestion and had cochlear implant surgery in 2012.”

If it weren’t for her cochlear implant, Connie believes she could have lost her job for not being able to hear well and communicate effectively.

Why Connie Is a HearStrong Champion

After struggling with hearing loss, Connie is honored to be a HearStrong Champion to inspire others and give them a better life of hearing and communication.

She suggests to others experiencing hearing loss to make your first appointment, trust the audiologist, and trust yourself. Without the help of others, hearing loss was painful and humiliating. However, she continually advocates for those with hearing loss and selflessly provides to those in need as a speech and language pathologist.

She is active in her community and wants to continue making a difference.

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