How I Tackled Hearing Loss to Achieve My Goals

Mon, 29 Feb 2016 09:30:15 EST

Brad tackeling

One day, I woke up and said to myself, “I want to do something nobody has ever done before: make a difference in the deaf community.”

I was born with hearing loss. My hearing aids have been a major support in my life, and I wouldn’t be able to hear or be where I am today without them. I got my first pair of hearing aids when I arrived in the 2nd grade and went for my first audiogram.

Before going into 5th grade, I discussed with my family that I wanted to go to school with my twin brother and go into a mainstreamed program. They agreed, and after my first year in adapting to a new environment and a new life, we moved to the suburbs of Chicago.

Going into 6th grade, I met some new people and the crazy thing was I was the only hearing impaired student in the school. In the meantime, I became known around town a little more after I started to socialize and fit in. I got good grades, kept myself focused, and adapted to a new environment by trying new accommodations such as interpreters, note takers, etc.

But as soon as I reached 7th grade, I experienced one of the toughest years of my entire life. That year was a cruel, hard, and horrible year for my family and me. I remember having to go through lots of counseling and dealing with issues with my family. People lied and accused me of things I didn’t do as well as bullied me in the locker rooms and when teachers weren’t around. Being the only hearing impaired student in the school became extremely rough.

After a long, tough year, I took it in my best interest to speak with my family and said, “I want to get out of here, mom.” I remember coming home, crying, and arguing with my brother and family for something I couldn’t help-being bullied.

My family and I then moved to Western Pennsylvania, and I continued my education from 8th-12th grade in one of the best cities and most peaceful places I’ve ever seen. I made many new friends who will always be there for me and friends that I’ll have for the rest of my life. I adapted in a new environment, made the best out of myself, and became committed to academics and athletics.

By my sophomore year of high school, I started getting looked at by colleges to play football. As the rules stated that colleges could not speak to me until after the first day of September of my junior year, I had to be patient. I then received dozens of requests to go to camps, so I decided to narrow down my search. I wanted to be somewhere around my newfound home. I was patient, took the time to think about everything, went with the flow, and put a lot of effort in recruiting. I went on a lot of visits and earned a few offers after my senior year, and it all came down to a tough decision.

Ultimately, I committed to attend Gallaudet University (the country’s premier university for deaf and hard-of-hearing students) on an academic scholarship instead of accepting a big football scholarship offer. I committed to Gallaudet because it fits my needs academically, athletically, and socially. Coming to Gallaudet is everything I expected it to be. I couldn’t imagine a better place! Every day, I’m working hard and putting 110% into everything I do to help make a difference in the community and for those around me.

For those people out there who are deaf and hard of hearing, I promise you that Gallaudet University is the best fit for you. I’m really excited about the future, and I’m going to continue to do everything I can to change the world. This is only the beginning!


In 2013, Brad was honored as a HearStrong Champion.

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