From: Fort Collins, CO
Nominated by: Dr. Natalie Phillips of Advanced Otolaryngology and Audiology
"I am a fourth grade teacher at Immanuel Lutheran Church and School. I’ve helped with our schools annual musical and midweek choir. I also sing music for worship, provide meals for those in need, help with our monthly youth group activities, and volunteer at the Denver Rescue Mission with my husband."
"I firmly believe that hearing better can only make you a better teacher, and I have tried not to allow my hearing loss to be disabling over the course of my career. I can now hear my students much more easily with my cochlear implant and hearing aid, and that has given me the power to facilitate student activities myself, rather than relying on someone else. It means a lot that someone doesn’t have to run and get my attention, but rather they say my name, and I can hear them."
Elizabeth is unsure of when she first experienced hearing loss, but she believes it was from her mother’s exposure to the measles, or a result of having the Hong Kong Flu at age three with high fever.
"At any rate, being severely to profoundly hearing impaired is all I’ve ever known."
"I began wearing my first hearing aid throughout my childhood, and a second hearing aid in my late 20’s as the audiologist thought it might help. In March 2015, I received a gift of two new hearing aids from a family from the school where I teach. The audiologist gave her time, and suggested that I was a good candidate for a cochlear implant. In June 2015, I had a cochlear implant operation, and received a new Starkey hearing aid for my other ear. My hearing continues to improve!"
"I began to realize how much sound I’ve missed all my life. After leading my students in some group work, I realized that I could actually understand the words they were saying. I could participate with the group, and help them through their topic at hand. I have been teaching in a Lutheran school for 28 years, and am seeing a connection with this year’s students that is more personal and involved because I am able to hear them better. This was amazing to me."
Elizabeth says she doesn’t have to ask people to repeat themselves as often, and background noise isn’t as overwhelming.
"This makes me less frustrated and able to communicate better and contribute to group discussions. I feel more connected with people, and less isolated, and my husband loves that he doesn’t have to repeat himself as often."
"I would be most honored to be named a HearStrong Champion! I receive wonderful and encouraging emails from strangers who have now become friends as I begin this journey of having a Cochlear Implant. I would love the opportunity to reach out to a broader audience, educating the public about options, encouraging others, and helping them grow in their abilities to connect with their environment."
Elizabeth states that she has been chronicling her journey as a new cochlear implant recipient for the past nine months, and with the words of encouragement, and support from others, she is eager to learn more about the others who have been on this journey before her. She says," I believe it is important to pay it forward."
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