Champion - Gwen Sparks

Swimmer • Softball Player

From: Portsmouth, OH

Discovering Hearing Loss

"I was deaf at birth but it went undetected until I was a year old," said Gwen. "I was slow to vocalize and much of the time I was difficult to console when crying. Other than my verbal development, I was developing normally and seemed like a perfectly healthy baby. Shortly after my first birthday, I was playing with my back toward my mom. She dropped something on the floor and it made a loud crash, but I didn’t even flinch. My mom continued to call my name and make noises, but I never acknowledged them."

This moment was when Gwen’s mom realized something may be wrong with her hearing, and Gwen began wearing hearing devices shortly after.

A Well-Rounded Life

Through hard work, the devotion of her family, and the support of her hearing devices, Gwen has been mainstreamed into her local Catholic school and has achieved a 3.0 GPA. She’s also become very active in sports, including swimming and softball.

"I have achieved USSA swimming "BB" times and am a pitcher and third baseman on my softball teams," Gwen said.

Feeling Thankful

"Hearing better makes it easier to make friends and it makes my friends more comfortable so they don’t have to rely on knowing sign language or constantly repeating themselves. There are so many events that symbolize the impact hearing better has had on my life. These include hearing music and voices, being able to participate in my school music programs, being able to hear instructions from my coaches during big games, and being able to hear my mom sing to me at bedtime. They all mean so much to me and make my life happier."

Why Gwen is a HearStrong Champion

As an active girl with a bright future ahead of her, Gwen is currently a:

  • Player on the Buckeye Elite travel softball team
  • Member of Girl Scout Troop 2646
  • Member of the Spartan Swim Club
  • Alter server at St. Mary’s Catholic Church

Gwen is a HearStrong Champion because her dedication and involvement in her community is a great inspiration to those with hearing loss. She says,

"I am very proud that I can inspire others to try new things and to never be afraid or embarrassed of being different."

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