“I like to tell everyone my story and show them how my CI works. I love showing other people how my ear works and telling them my story.”
Discovering Her Hearing Loss
When Hanna was two and half years old, her parents knew that something was wrong because she hadn’t started talking yet. As a sign language interpreter, her mother clapped in each of Hanna’s ears to test how she would react. When she clapped in her left ear, Hanna turned towards the noise, but when she clapped in her right, Hanna remained still. At first, the doctor thought it was fluid, but after further examination, she was diagnosed with moderate/severe hearing loss due to an enlarged vestibular aqueduct in her right ear. She has perfect hearing in her left ear. On top of this, Hanna has sensory processing disorder, so her parents wanted to provide her with the best access to sound as possible.
Life for Hanna
Hanna tested out different devices, none of which were the best fit for her. After a multi-year struggle to obtain insurance coverage, in 2018 Hanna finally received a cochlear implant to treat her single-sided hearing loss. Hanna is so grateful that her family fought for her to receive her “new ear.” She is ecstatic for the opportunity to hear out of both ears.
Her parents decided that Hanna would excel best in a homeschooled setting. She works with a speech therapist as well where she utilizes a mini mic. Hanna doesn’t let anything slow her down. She loves to learn, especially in science because it is hands-on with experiments. As a talented young dancer, she has performed in the nutcracker. Her favorite dance genres are ballet, tap, tumbling, hip-hop, and jazz. Hanna enjoys spending time with her family, laughing with her sister, and listening to the birds sing.
Why Hanna is a HearStrong Champion
Hanna is a HearStrong Champion because she is an advocate for herself as well as for others. She accepts her hearing loss and educates anybody who asks. She enjoys her cochlear implant so much that she and her family have become some of the most prolific volunteers at, Waiting to Hear, where she can help other children who are deaf or hard of hearing. Hanna attends every event ready to help, she tells her story to news outlets and helps the local speech center teach therapy techniques to students.
Hanna has overcome so much at such a young age. She uses her experiences to educate others and offer advice. A friend of Hanna’s was feeling nervous about her own cochlear implant surgery that was approaching. Hanna spoke to her and her friend’s father commented on how much more relaxed his daughter was after that conversation. Hanna doesn’t want people to be worried, she wants everyone to love their implants, just like she does!
Hanna’s mom said, “As her mom, to watch Hanna flourish when she is in her element with her people, is amazing. She is the epitome of perseverance and acceptance!”