Champion - Jake deHahn

Industrial and Interaction Designer • Entrepreneur

From: Belchertown, MA

Experiencing Hearing Loss

When Jake was born, his parents had his hearing tested immediately because his older brother, Patrick, was born profoundly deaf. The evaluation revealed that Jake shared his brother's hearing loss, and he started wearing hearing aids for the first four years of his life.

"Around the age of four, I became extremely frustrated during speech therapy, something I had excitedly looked forward to," says Jake. "This sudden shift in mood concerned my parents, and when I was retested, my hearing had deteriorated. Then, my only options were to learn American Sign Language and become part of the Deaf community, or to have a cochlear implant. My parents and I chose the implant, which I got in my left ear. I haven't gotten a second, nor do I plan to."

Jake recalls some of the first sounds he heard after getting his implant. One of these sounds was his mom buttering his toast in the morning. He remembers standing in the kitchen, experiencing this new sound and saying, "Mommy, I didn't know toast could talk!"

Great Accomplishments

Today, Jake attends Syracuse University in the School of Design where he majors in Industrial Design. He achieves excellent grades and has made the Dean's List every semester. He is a part of the Syracuse Chapter of the Industrial Design Society of America where he serves on the Board as a Graphic & Communications Designer. He has also started his own business, Jake's Patches, where he sells his hand-sewn patches for jackets, backpacks, and more!

"I consider myself to be a driven and motivated person with anything in my life, and I partially believe it's due to my hearing loss," says Jake. "If something seems like it will be daunting for me—instead of steering away—I take the plunge. I am determined to prove to myself and others that my hearing loss will never stop me from doing great things."

Jake's Advocacy

Jake shares that his older brother has been an important role model in his life.

"He's someone I aspire to be," he says. "He's a journalist and never lets his hearing loss stop him from being out in the field interviewing people—sometimes it's really hard—and standing up for himself. He's a positive, motivated, and accepting person, even when times are tough."

Jake takes inspiration from his brother, and makes sure he advocates for himself in any situation. He says,

"I'm a huge stickler for standing up for myself, and I always encourage others to do the same! There are times when I feel uncomfortable asking for help or don't really know how to explain something, but I always make sure I somehow convey that I need something to be done, so I can succeed."

Why Jake is a HearStrong Champion

Jake is a HearStrong Champion because his positivity, openness, and sense of humor is an inspiration to all. He believes it is of utmost importance that people feel empowered to stand up for themselves and take the opportunity to teach others about their hearing loss.

"Being deaf and having a cochlear implant has been a great teaching platform," says Jake. "People don't often meet deaf people, so I'm able to share my story as well as educate. "

During an EarQ VIP event with Oticon, Jake was honored as a HearStrong Champion in front of many industry leading professionals.

Watch Jake's HearStrong Ceremony

Find a supporter provider

Join our champions and take control of your hearing health! Click here to find your local hearing healthcare provider.

Join the Newsletter


Receive word of new champions, special events, and more!



Learn more about hearing loss, hearing aids, cochlear implants and how to live with hearing loss the HearStrong way.

Learn »


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!

Nominate »


The HearStrong Foundation depends on donations large and small from people like you who are passionate about hearing loss and the individuals affected by it.

Donate »

Champion Resources

Are you a HearStrong Champion who is passionate about educating others about the importance of taking control of their hearing health?

Click here to access exclusive tools to support your community outreach efforts.