Champion - Gloria Matthews

Cochlear Implant Advocate • Communications Professional

Nominated by: HearStrong Champion Jerome C. Evans, Au.D.

From: Buffalo, NY

Early Solutions

"At the age of four, I was diagnosed with bilateral sensorineural hearing loss caused by chronic infections affecting my ears, nose and throat," said Gloria.

Under the guardianship of her grandmother, Gloria’s diagnosis was not taken lightly; she was quickly fitted with hearing devices and soon adapted to the renewed sounds of her life.

Overcoming Bullying

"I attended an all-hearing school district in the late 80’s. You could easily tell that all of the teachers, staff, and administrators were not knowledgeable in dealing with a child who had a hearing loss at the time. Most children like (me) at that time got sent to the New York School for the Deaf. I dealt with bullying, learned how to speak up for myself, and became more vocal about my needs as time went on. I showed my determination to the school officials…by eighth grade, I was already an established varsity track and field runner, an experienced clarinet player, and newly viola player in the orchestra."

Gloria also routinely made the merit and honor roll, and even had her artwork displayed during the annual school art exhibition at her local library.

Dedicated to Excellence

Gloria continued her education at Genesee Community College, where she participated in the NJCAA Division III cross country program, was a member of the student support services and educational opportunities programs, and was active in student activities, student government, and the athletic department. She remained just as active after transferring to the College of Westchester to complete her Associates Degree in business administration with a concentration in accounting.

During this time, Gloria was also committed to two part-time jobs and taking care of her family.

Why Gloria is a HearStrong Champion

Gloria has proven that hard work and a positive attitude can propel one to achieve success.

Her many distinctions include:

  • Serving as the vice president of the Women’s Business Issues Club while attending the College of Westchester
  • Working with the American Association of University Women (AAUW)
  • Graduating Magna Cum Laude from the College of Westchester in 2005
  • Being inducted into the National Alpha Beta Kappa Honor Society—Golden Key

As her hearing loss began to worsen over time, Gloria decided to pursue cochlear implants.

"The decision to get a cochlear implant really symbolized a new era for me. Today, I am bimodal, which means, I wear a hearing aid in one ear and a cochlear (implant) in (the other) ear."

Today, Gloria is a single mother to her son and serves as the social media manager and board member for the Buffalo Implant Group—a cochlear implant support organization. Through her own experiences, Gloria is able to empower others with hearing difficulties to understand, "your hearing loss doesn’t define who you are, it’s a part of who you are."

The Latest with Gloria

Gloria recently helped secure an article about the Buffalo Implant Group in the Buffalo News! She also completed her third year of participating in Deaf Awareness Week kick-off events in September to help promote awareness for services and programs available to the community at large and educating them on hearing loss and the resources available to them.

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