“The quicker you seek treatment for your hearing loss, the quicker you’ll accept it as a part of you, the quicker you’ll be more open to treatment and support, the quicker you’ll be able to achieve your full potential in whatever you want to do and the quicker you’ll learn to love yourself for who you truly are.”
Areej was diagnosed with hearing loss when she first started school around age 4. An audiologist was visiting her school to check students’ hearing and discovered that Areej would need hearing devices. Shortly after, she received her first set of hearing aids. Areej did not feel confident wearing her hearing aids until she was 18. From 5 years old to 18, she refused to wear her devices. Throughout school she was bullied for wearing them, which played a major part in why she viewed them negatively. She managed to pass her classes without the support of her devices, but knew she could’ve excelled if she had worn them.
When she went to college, for the first time she met peers who also had hearing loss but wore their hearing aids with such pride. Around the same time, her mother sat her down to stress the importance of being able to accept and love yourself for who you are. Areej learned to appreciate her hearing devices and throughout this process gained the confidence to wear them.
The Importance of Hearing Better
Before Areej accepted her hearing aids, she kept to herself. She found it easier to remain quiet instead of asking others to repeat themselves or give the wrong response. Today, she has the self-confidence to speak out and stand up for herself. Her hearing started to get worse as she got older and at 25, she decided to make the transition to a cochlear implant. She is extremely grateful for her cochlear implant and proud of herself for making this decision. Because of it she is able to hear so many more sounds and talk on the phone for work, something she was never able to do even with hearing aids.
“I can hear so many other beautiful sounds which I hadn’t heard since I was a kid, such as the birds singing and soft surfaces touching. I honestly didn’t realize how noisy the world was until I was 25 when I had my cochlear implant.”
Why Areej is a HearStrong Champion
Areej is a HearStrong Champion because she strives to share her story to empower and inspire future generations. She always wished she had someone to look up to and who knew what she was going through, now her goal is to be that person for others. She wants to teach and encourage others to love and accept themselves, like how her mother taught her to. She inspires others through her career as a teacher and through her passion of writing poetry. In her free time, she started a blog and shares her poems to educate and eliminate the stigma surrounding hearing loss.
“There’s so much more to us as a person than a hearing loss. Seeking treatment helps us to be able to find that potential in us and achieve whatever we want with the support we need.”