Champion - Yevgeniy Barkalov

Martial Arts Competitor • Dancer

From: San Francisco, CA

Nominated by: Jessie Johnson of Hearing and Speech Center of Northern California

Discovering Himself

"I got my first implant when I was two-and-a-half years old... I would've made the same decision (my parents) they made for me."

Yevgeniy recalls that his transition into mainstream schooling helped him establish his self-confidence.

"Before I started actual school, I went to a special school for people who have hearing loss and everyone there was like me: they had hearing devices. We were in our own little world, like our own family, when we were together. So, when I graduated from there to kindergarten, I was terrified because I would be one of the only students with hearing loss, if not the only student with hearing loss. But instead, my class welcomed me. That moment meant a lot to me because I saw that even though I had a different lifestyle and background than my classmates, I could still get along with them. It was then I realized that I was unique, but unique in my own special way."

Accomplishing Goals

"With my implants I have accomplished several things. For starters, I am at or above my grade level in my academic subjects. But, no matter where I may be, I do not stop aiming higher and putting in effort because I know that even if I miss, I'll ‘land among the stars,' (quoted from Norman Vincent Peale). Second, I am a good supervisor and role model for my siblings. Even though I'm deaf and can't always do the same things as them, I can show then that with perseverance comes great results. Finally, with my implants I can verbally communicate and learn from other people's words as well as speech. With that incredible gift, I was able to learn and practice martial arts as well as hip hop dancing and how to play the piano."

Appreciating Communication

"Hearing better has affected my relationships very positively. If I hadn't gotten implants, I would have most likely learned and communicated using sign language and I would have done adequately. But... being able to speak and communicate between yourself and others is like a whole new realm of comprehension. With this ability, life can be more enriched, like a poem. Yes, somebody can interpret to me in sign language what a person is saying. But when I am able to speak and understand a verbal language with a vivid vocabulary, what that person was saying has a different meaning to me now." 

Why Yevgeniy is a HearStrong Champion

"…I want to accomplish as much as someone with hearing loss can; I don't want my goals and hopes to be limited simply because I can't hear the same way other people do."

A well-rounded young man, Yevgeniy actively pursues his many interests as a:

  • Martial arts student
  • Art student
  • Dancer
  • Volunteer at his local library
  • Advocate for local children with hearing loss  
  • Aspiring software engineer

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