From: Hammond, Louisiana
“I have been Deaf my whole life and I’m perfectly happy with it. It’s who I am!”
HearStrong Champion, David Welch, has never let anything hold him back from his goals, especially hearing loss.
David was diagnosed with hearing loss just after his first birthday. He has been using American Sign Language to communicate and wearing hearing aids on and off since he was a toddler.
A Beatles fan, David likes to use his hearing aids to hear music. They even helped him play drums in his high school marching band, which was huge! Most recently, David got new hearing aids to be able to hear his young daughter laugh, play, and talk.
Through it all, David has had great role models to guide him. In fact, after David was diagnosed with hearing loss as a baby, his mother went into the hearing healthcare field to help others who are experiencing hearing loss. David followed a similar path in that he works for Deaf Action Center North Shore, an organization that supports Deaf, Deaf-Blind, and Hard-of-Hearing (DDBHH) individuals.
When asked who his biggest role mode is, David says,
“Helen Keller. She was just amazing,” he says. “She was Blind and Deaf. She knew sign language, which was her primary language—just like me. She could talk with a voice and showed people that she can do anything. This inspired me to be the person I am today. I can do anything… except hear!”
David is a HearStrong Champion because he is passionate about educating others on Deaf culture and spreading awareness about hearing loss.
In 2018, David worked on The Language of Silence, a short film in American Sign Language about a young musician’s decision to get a cochlear implant. He believes its important for people—both Deaf and hearing—to see that hearing loss creates no boundaries.
“I believe that through (being a HearStrong Champion) I am going to be able to be someone’s role model. People need successful Deaf people to look up to. (They need) to see someone like me who is Deaf, uses American Sign Language to communicate, runs a business, and inspires people to do great things. That’s how you know someone is a Champion.”
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A HearStrong Champion is an individual who refuses to let their hearing loss stand in the way of living a successful, well-rounded life. If this sounds like you or someone you know nominate them today!
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