Champions - Jill Hoffman and Jennifer Schirduan

Twin Sisters • Advocates

From: Massachusetts

Discovering Hearing Loss

When Jill and Jen were in preschool, their teachers noticed they would not respond when their names were called. What's more is that they did not interact with other children. Instead, they had their own twin language.

After mentioning this situation to their pediatrician several times, the twins' parents decided to take them to see an audiologist. Sure enough, they were both diagnosed with hearing loss in both ears.

The twins were soon fit with hearing aids and began speech therapy. It was not always easy. Their mother recalls that it was a struggle to get them to wear their hearing aids and they would sometimes throw them on the ground. After years of not fully hearing the world around them, the twins were exposed to new sounds for the first time.

"My mom said that we jumped up on the kitchen counter after hearing the dog bark for the first time," said Jill. "We were scared because we had never heard that sound before."

The Importance of Hearing Better

Eventually, the twins got used to their hearing aids, and now they can't imagine life without them! They believe that their ability to communicate with others has added so much to their lives, and they are grateful their parents always made sure they had everything they needed to succeed.

"Hearing better has helped me with hearing and communicating with others," says Jill. "I have developed amazing friendships and have a wonderful husband whom I love very much. He supports me in so many ways."

Jen is also an advocate for hearing better. When her daughter, Elizabeth, was diagnosed with hearing loss also at three years old, she knew that getting hearing aids was the right choice for her. Now, the three women support each other and share a special bond over their experience with hearing loss.

Why Jill and Jen are HearStrong Champions

Jill and Jen are HearStrong Champions because they have tackled challenges surrounding their hearing loss and want to inspire others to do the same.

"I want to inspire others like me to never be afraid," she says. "I want everyone to know that being hearing impaired is not something that holds you back. I want to be a role model and offer advice and encouragement. There are no limits to the places you can go. There are no limits to the person you can be. There are no limits for anyone, hearing impaired or not. I want to spread the word and inspire people to be the best they can be."

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