Champion - Joey Blitman

Medical Pathology Resident • Advocate

From: Rochester, NY

Nominated by: Brenna Richardson of EarQ

Experiencing Hearing Loss

“My first experience with hearing loss was as a child in kindergarten. I recall the first time I brought hearing aids home and the experience of wearing them. I remember them being physically uncomfortable in my ears and how the analog volume control moved easily and would startle me. I was very sensitive about my disability, and my friends would sometimes make fun of me.”

Joey recalls after not wearing his hearing aids that he was doing fine academically but wasn’t reaching his potential. “My family linked me with an audiologist, but I stopped wearing my hearing aids at the age of ten. I started wearing them again about halfway through high school at the age of 16. My life wasn’t going the way I hoped it would go, and I was diagnosed with depression. I had nothing to lose and needed things to change.”

Reaching His Potential

Joey has recently graduated medical school and is in his first year of pathology residency in Rochester, NY. “The role of hearing for my daily work is for verbal communication. I’m not listening to patients’ heartbeats, but I am communicating with the people I work with.”

“At this stage in my training, most of my work-related communication is related to learning. I feel like I’m in medical school all over again.”

How Hearing Better has Impacted His Life

Joey recalls that with the help of his hearing devices, he was able to hear everything that his professor was saying with ease, and this enabled him to function at a high level academically. “My professional life in medicine was only made possible from wearing hearing aids.”

However, he found difficulty with personal relationships because he felt as though he had more friends prior to wearing hearing aids than after wearing them.  

Why Joey Is a HearStrong Champion

After experiencing hearing loss at a young age, Joey continues to inspire others to overcome their hearing loss and to not be self-conscious about it. He believes most people are willing to discover more about hearing loss and could learn something new.

He continues to stay active in his community by volunteering at the hospital and for the American Red Cross. He is challenged on a daily basis from his medical career in pathology to his hearing loss, but he continues to keep pushing forward and overcoming these challenges. His positivity and success are key to being an advocate, and he believes that sharing his story through the HearStrong Foundation and motivating others is an honor.

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