“It is important for individuals to seek treatment. What do you have to lose? No one wants to be isolated. Human beings are social beings. You don’t know what you are missing out on unless you try. No one can do it for you but yourself.”
Deirdre’s Hearing Journey
Deirdre was born with hearing loss and received her first set of hearing aids when she was in kindergarten. Her parents were determined to provide her with the best tools for success and strongly advocated for her while she was in school. They informed her teachers to have her sit in the front of the classroom and in the center of groups so she could read everyone’s lips. She was enrolled in a Speech-Language Pathology program and by her parents’ example, learned to advocate for herself. During her freshmen year of college, she experienced hearing loss for a second time. Deirdre then decided to look into getting a cochlear implant.
Importance of Better Hearing
As a college student at the time, Deirdre decided the cochlear implant was the best solution because it was crucial to hear her professors and wanted to be able to effectively communicate with her friends and family. Deirdre is very proud of the decision she made because after receiving her cochlear implants, she realized all of the sounds she was missing out on. She was amazed at how clearly she was able to hear and talk on the phone.
“It was the best decision I have ever made! I heard sounds I had not heard in 21 years like the pop fizzing and the refrigerator making noise!”
Not only is she able to hear more sounds, but her self-confidence has soared and her relationships with her family, friends, and co-workers have strengthened. Now, as a teacher-librarian in an elementary school, it is important for her to hear her students. She is able to be a role model for her students that have hearing loss as well.
Why Deirdre is a HearStrong Champion
Deirdre is a HearStrong Champion because she is dedicated to raising awareness about hearing loss and bringing people with hearing loss together to share common barriers and triumphs. She is involved and a strong advocate for herself and the hearing loss community. For the past four years, she has been the President of Hearing Loss Association of America Chicago Lincoln Park Chapter. As President, she constantly brings in speakers to help people with hearing loss better live their lives. She attends events and volunteers on boards that strive to better improve the lives of people with hearing loss, such as the accessibility board to make theaters more accessible to patrons and the Chicago Walk4Hearing.
Deirdre is a voice for those with hearing loss and isn’t afraid to speak up and tell her own story. She knows that whatever she sets her mind to, she will succeed. She wants to share that mindset with everyone.
“I am not afraid to let people know I have a hearing loss and I am always willing to explain how they can best communicate to me. I am a very active and social person and my two cochlear implants allow me to live the life I want to.”