Champion - Steve Martell

Survivor • Counselor

Nominated by: Tammy Wood of EarQ

Unexpected Events

On June 20th, 1980, the day before he was to graduate from high school, Steve was severely injured in a car accident. Upon waking from a month-long coma, Steve learned he was partially paralyzed, blind in one eye, deaf in one ear and left with partial hearing ability in the other ear. A very athletic and active person, Steve was devastated.

"Out of all my injuries, my hearing loss was the most severe to me," said Steve. "I pole vaulted in track, acted, played football and was in a rock band. (My hearing loss) limited me from doing activities I love. I was most inspired by my peers going ahead in life and me not wanting to fade away in memory. I wanted to live life," said Steve.

Unwilling to Quit

After receiving hearing devices and assistance for his other injuries, Steve was determined to rebuild his life. He earned dual master degrees from Syracuse University in rehabilitation counseling and counselor education, as well as certification via Cornell University as a social security trainer. "I have worked full-time as a rehabilitation counselor for the Veteran's Administration for the past 15 years, helping disabled veterans gain suitable employment and adjust to the civilian world despite their disabilities," said Steve. "(My hearing devices have) allowed me to have a professional career."

Happiness Found

Prior to receiving his hearing devices, Steve said he often shied away from meeting new people. But thanks to his hearing devices and regained sense of hearing, Steve discovered a newfound confidence.

"After benefiting from hearing technology," said Steve, "I became married, have two step-children and two grandchildren."

Why Steve is a HearStrong Champion

Steve is a HearStrong Champion because of his positive spirit and ability to persevere in the face of severe challenges. When many would give up, Steve refused to let his life be deterred by his circumstances. He sought the proper assistance and forged ahead towards his professional and personal goals.

"Enhancing your hearing is the one action you could take to help live life and not just survive on earth," said Steve.


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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