From: Mechanicsburg, Ohio
Since she was young, Mikayla has had to overcome many challenges related to her hearing loss. She was born with hearing loss, but it gradually became worse. Her parents had her tested at 2 ½ years old, and since then she has three cochlear implant failures and a total of five surgeries.
“My parents were concerned with my hearing,” says Mikayla. “They realized I wasn’t hearing everything I should.”
For Mikayla, her cochlear implants make a world of difference. Growing up, she struggled with her speech, but her implants have helped her improve her speech tremendously.
“When I’m hearing better, I can join in conversations and I can talk to everyone verbally,” says Mikayla. “I’m able to have friends. That’s pretty major because I’m the only deaf person in my town, school, social circle, and athletics. I’m able to have that social interaction.”
While Mikayla has participated in many sports including soccer, softball, and cheerleading, basketball is what she loves and she truly shines on the court.
“Most people call me ‘Deaf Magic’ because I am deaf and I make magic on the basketball court,” she says. “Being the only deaf athlete on my team has taught me a lot. It has taught me how to leave my problems off the basketball court. I lead the floor and my deafness helps with that. I have to be aware of what’s going on at all times. I have to use a lot of visual cues.”
Mikayla uses her own experiences to help others, including her teammates.
“Since I’m the point guard, everyone looks to me for guidance. They look to me when they’re feeling down and I always help them because I know what it’s like for no one to understand or have anyone to talk to.”
She also mentors junior high students at Hearing Impaired Camp. She writes to kids across the state to help them through their hardships. She is planning to go to college for psychology and counseling, so she can continue to help others through her career.
“Being named as a HearStrong Champion is a dream come true,” says Mikayla. “I’ve always wanted to become a role model for everyone, and not just kids. My story is hectic and I want to share it. It needs to be heard. No one should be alone.”
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