Champion - Guadalupe Pineda

Student • Advocate

From: River Grove, IL

Overcoming Challenges

“I was born deaf, but my parents didn’t find out until I was about 3 months old. They took me to several doctors who assured my parents that I was fine, but my mother didn’t believe them. My mother asked for a reference to an audiologist, where the hearing test confirmed that I was deaf. I received my first hearing aids at the age of 1, and also went to speech therapy.”

Excelling at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign where she is the only deaf student, Guadalupe is challenged daily by her hearing loss and communicates through ASL and an interpreter. With a campus of about 40,000 people, she continues to stay active. She plans to become an executive board member for the ASL club and the Transfer Advantage Group Club where she can meet other transfer students.


Hearing Better

Guadalupe states, “Communication is the most important thing in any relationship. Hearing better has helped me communicate with my family members who don’t know any sign language. I am glad to be able to communicate with them while wearing hearing aids. Without them, we would not have a good understanding of our communication.”

“I played soccer for two years in High School, and my hearing aids helped me hear my teammates and know when to pass the ball. I also participate in hearing pageants and was crowned Miss Deaf USA of 2014. Lastly, being the only deaf student at UIUC led me to be able to communicate with other people and fit in without feeling like I was left out.”

Who Inspires Guadalupe?

“Nyle DiMarco is my biggest role model because he is deaf and proves to everyone in this world that deaf people can do anything and hearing loss shouldn’t get in the way. Nyle has won America’s Next Top Model, is now competing on Dancing with the Stars, and is an actor. When I saw Nyle DiMarco and how confident he is as a person and how many people he inspires, I wanted to inspire others to feel this way too.”

Why Guadalupe is a HearStrong Champion

“So what if you have hearing loss!? That shouldn’t stop us from doing anything we want! With all the struggles we have, this makes us stronger.”

Guadalupe says she would be honored to be named a HearStrong Champion and serve as an inspiration for others to overcome their hearing loss. “I have seen people that don’t accept themselves since they’re deaf and they feel as though they can’t do anything, but I want to inspire them and show them they can do anything they set their mind to.”

Guadalupe was honored as a HearStrong Champion in downtown Chicago along with Kayla Dunlea and Katie DiBenedetto. Sarah Spain and Eliza Peters hosted the ceremony.

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