From: Fergus Falls, Minnesota
After being diagnosed with profound hearing loss as an infant, Nick had his first cochlear implant surgery at four years old. His mother Shannon recalls,
"I remember a bird chirping and Nicholas asked, 'What is that?' It was a very emotional time. He was now able to hear sounds we take for granted."
Previously, it was Shannon who noticed the signs of hearing loss in Nick. He was very loud and didn't react to sounds, such as fire truck sirens at a parade. Shannon, who has a family friend who is deaf, recognized these characteristics and was determined to find a solution for her son.
Today Nick is a high school student who swims, participates in band, and acts in the school plays. His favorite subjects in school are art and history.
"Art is my favorite because I can express my feelings and show others that we may be different, but we are still human beings," says Nick. "I like history because I like to learn about the past, what has changed, and what needs to be changed, especially about deafness."
Nick is a very involved and active student, but school life has not always been easy for him. However, through the good times and bad, his best friend Noah has been there to support and inspire him.
"Noah was my friend when no one else would be," recalls Nick. "He sat with me at lunchtime and got his friends to talk to me. His actions changed my life in high school."
Nick is a HearStrong Champion because he is inquisitive, brave, and determined to make a difference. He feels empowered to speak out about his hearing loss, especially to other kids in school. He spends his time volunteering for Minnesota Hands & Voices, a program for families with children who are deaf and hard of hearing.
"I want to be a role model for those with hearing loss and struggle with being bullied," Nick shares. "I want to let them know that we are strong and can accomplish our dreams."
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