Champion - Nancy Chovancek

Entrepreneur • Author

Nominated by: The HearStrong Foundation

From: Wheaton, IL

First Signs of Hearing Loss

When Nancy was 21 years old, she felt an odd fullness in her ears. "It was the equivalent of talking in a large soup can," she said. "With scarcely audible sounds, I had difficulty hearing what people were saying to around me. I was diagnosed with Meniere's disease. I never even considered that this particular incident at the young age of 21 would ultimately define who I am as a person today."

Institute of Personal Trainers

Living with Meniere's disease

Nancy said the disease was well managed until she was in her mid-30s. "The force of it was unbearable. The vertigo was the worst. It was shortly after that bout that I began to have tinnitus in my left ear. A year later, it started in my right ear. That's when it became clear to me that I had encountered some hearing loss and soon started wearing small hearing aids." Nancy's hearing eventually worsened to the point of needing cochlear devices.

"When my cochlear devices were activated and I walked out of the doctor's office, I heard a strange sound. I asked my husband what it was and he said, 'those are birds chirping, hon.' I cried. It made me realize all that I had missed out on in my life; although I was there to see them happening I was not able to embrace the entire experience because I had such a hard time hearing." From then on, Nancy was committed to experiencing the rest of her life as fully as possible.

"If I truly want to do something, my hearing loss or cochlear devices won't stop me. I skydived at 14,000 feet without them."

Pegleg Web Designs

Nancy's positive, ambitious attitude also applies to her professional life. She started her own business, Pegleg Web Designs and Online Marketing, and prides herself on her personalized, one-on-one approach with her clients—no easy feat for one with hearing loss. "I don't take every day sounds for granted," she said.

Why Nancy is a HearStrong Champion

In the spirit of inspiring others with hearing loss to live their lives fully, Nancy wrote a book called, appropriately, "I Can Finally Hear Birds." Nancy says it is a candid, comical and very intimate journey about hearing loss, Meniere's disease and cochlear implants. "I want people (with hearing loss) to realize that although there may be some limitations to what you used to be able to do, it shouldn't stop you from being who you were before you lost your hearing. A person with hearing loss is still the same person."


Learn more about hearing loss, hearing aids, cochlear implants and how to live with hearing loss the HearStrong way.

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A HearStrong Champion is an individual who refuses to let their hearing loss stand in the way of living a successful, well-rounded life. If this sounds like you or someone you know nominate them today!

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