Champion - Mary Fiello

Dancer • Soccer Player

From: Baldwinsville, New York

Experiencing Hearing Loss

When Mary was born, she failed the newborn hearing screening three times. After a final Auditory Brainstem Response (ABR) test that showed positive results, her parents were told that her hearing was fine.

"We trusted the doctors and went on with our lives," said Mary's mother, Jennifer.

However, as Mary grew, her parents knew something wasn't right. They often had to shout for her attention and her speech was not appropriate for her age. They went to have her re-tested at two years old, and it was discovered that she had moderate to severe sensorineural hearing loss. She was then fit with hearing aids.

"When we heard how severe her hearing loss was, we wanted to do anything in our power to help her hear," said Jennifer. "As the years went on, her hearing got progressively worse in her left ear and the hearing aid was no longer any assistance to her. We started researching the cochlear implant, and after about a year of talking to Mary and making sure it was what she wanted, she had the surgery. She was almost 10."

Life for Mary

Today, Mary is an active student who loves social studies and learning about history. She participates in many activities including soccer, basketball, competitive dance, yearbook, and gymnastics. Through it all, Mary has had an excellent role model to guide her.

"My biggest role model is Lauren, my old dance teacher who is now in college," says Mary. "She has encouraged me through my dance, but not only that. She also encourages me to work hard and never give up even if I am failing. She always tells me how I can fix what I'm doing to make myself a better dancer. She also tells me how to be a better person."

Why Mary is a HearStrong Champion

Mary is a HearStrong Champion because even at a young age, she recognizes the importance of advocating for herself and spreading awareness about hearing loss.

"In elementary school I put together a PowerPoint presentation with my teacher, and I stood up in front of my class and talked about my hearing loss and hearing aids," says Mary "But now I just communicate face to face with the new friends I'm making in middle school. I want to tell and show people that hearing aids and cochlear implants are so important in making me who I am today."

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