Champion - Justin Bakker

Soccer Player • Future Pilot

From: Naperville, Illinois

Hearing Better

When Justin’s parents discovered he had hearing loss at three years old, they took him to get tested and fit for hearing aids. Now a college student, Justin doesn't remember a time before hearing aids, but he is grateful that he has them to help him navigate through life, school, and his future career.

"They improve my hearing and allow me to live a fairly normal life," he says. "Especially with the Bluetooth capabilities of my newer hearing aids, I can stream music and watch videos without needing to worry about taking them out.

"They also allow me to hear my teachers better so I can learn more in school. My dream is to be a pilot, so hearing well is important. I wouldn’t be able to fly without my hearing aids."

Justin’s Inspiration

Justin enjoys reading, hanging out with friends, and playing with his dogs. He started a community service club at his school, and they raised over $28,000 for Special Spaces, an organization that gives dream room makeovers to children with terminal illnesses.

He also enjoys soccer, a sport which gave him someone great to look up to.

"Lionel Messi is my biggest role model," he says. "He is arguably the best soccer player in the world, despite his smaller size. I admire his ability to overcome his inherent disadvantage and become the best of the best. I aspire to overcome my hearing loss and do great things with my life."

Why Justin is a HearStrong Champion

Justin is a HearStrong Champion because he is ambitious and determined to achieve his dreams.

"I am good at advocating for myself and communicating about my needs," he says. "While this is always a good skill, it is imperative that I am able to do this with my hearing loss. Whenever I am having trouble hearing, I speak up so I get the help I need.

"My hearing loss has prevented me from experiencing a few things growing up. Despite this, I have always put forth my best effort to succeed, especially in school. As a result, I am able to attend Purdue with a major in professional flight technology."

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