Wed, 27 Feb 2013 09:22:39 EST
"Before age three, my life was a world of silence," said Calen Wright, a 16-year-old from Knoxville, TN. "When I received my first pair of hearing aids, immediately my world came to life. I heard a jet plane soaring in the sky; I heard birds chirping in the trees... my silent world was overwhelmed with magical sound."
Calen's journey to better hearing began as a toddler. Concerned that their three-year-old daughter wasn't communicating easily, her parents brought her to specialists to have her hearing evaluated. While they were surprised to learn Calen had hearing loss and would be fitted for hearing devices, they did not shy away from the challenge- and neither did Calen. Determined to achieve her goals and live her life in the fullest way possible, Calen focused on her studies and soon found herself as one of the top students at her private school.
"I've accomplished excellent speech, academic success, played tennis for my school and have played piano for nine years," Calen said. "(With my hearing devices) I'm able to understand what I'm learning and fully participate in class with all of my hearing peers."
To honor Calen and her accomplishments, The HearStrong Foundation will hold a HearStrong Champion ceremony on March 5th at 3pm at Bridgewater Balance and Hearing, located at 103 Suburban Rd., Suite 101D, Knoxville, TN 37923. Legendary Buffalo Bills player Mike Stratton, deliverer of the "hit heard 'round the world" in the 1964 AFC Championship game against the San Diego Chargers, will be on hand to help present Calen with her HearStrong medal and certificate.
Roughly 36 million Americans suffer from hearing loss- and that number is on the rise. Recent studies have shown that one in five teenagers has hearing loss, as well as 60% of veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan. However, due to lack of education and negative connotations, many people choose to suffer in silence.
With champions like Calen, The HearStrong Foundation will change that view once and for all.
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