Champion - Samantha Wessel

Basketball Player • Student

From: Indianapolis, IN

Experiencing Hearing Loss

As someone who was born with microtia and atresia in both ears, hearing loss has always been a part of Samantha’s life. Microtia is a condition where the outer ear does not fully develop during pregnancy, and Atresia is a condition where there is an absence or closure of the auditory ear canal. For many people, this causes conductive hearing loss—meaning sound waves have trouble traveling through the ear.

Samantha was seen by a hearing healthcare specialist the day after she was born, and began the process of getting a hearing device when she was just a few weeks old. She now has a BAHA bone-conduction implant, which makes a huge difference for her.

"Last year I had to be without my BAHA for almost six months," Samantha shares. "That’s when I realized how much my BAHA has helped me in life. It was exhausting trying to concentrate on lip reading when my teachers and coaches were talking."

Life for Samantha

Slowing down is never an option for Samantha!

She loves reading, drawing, and playing basketball. She has played on travel and AAU teams since 3rd grade, and was a varsity player at her high school for three years. She also volunteers at the Indianapolis Museum of Art and mentors hearing impaired basketball players.

Why Samantha is a HearStrong Champion

Samantha is a HearStrong Champion because she wants to empower kids with hearing loss and let them know there is nothing they can’t do. Hearing loss is not something others always understand right away. For this reason, Samantha believes it’s important to be an advocate and give a voice to people who need it. She says,

"I advocate for myself and others. I haven't let my hearing loss define me. People should know that I am a hard worker and my hearing loss doesn't hold me back. Helping younger kids learn techniques to communicate with their coaches and be successful on the basketball court is important to me. I want all kids to be able to do what they love, and they shouldn't be limited because of their hearing loss."

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