My favorite sounds to hear are people cheering me on at the finish line of my bike rides and people cheering me on at my soccer games!
Experiencing Hearing Loss
Julian was in preschool when his parents noticed early signs of hearing loss. He would frequently ask, “What?” when his parents asked him questions, and it seemed that he was ignoring his peers at school. After two hearing tests that Julian’s pediatrician deemed normal, his symptoms persisted.
“It was clear that his hearing loss would affect his early socialization,” says Julian’s father Jeffrey. “Additionally, he was in a critical window for language acquisition and phoneme production and we knew that if he couldn’t hear language clearly he would not be able to produce it well. This drove us to take action.”
Julian’s parents took him to Seattle Children’s Hospital where he was immediately diagnosed with profound sensorineural hearing loss. He was fit with his first pair of hearing aids that same day.
The Importance of Hearing Better
As his hearing loss progressed, Julian’s hearing aids were no longer able to help him hear all the sounds he needed. He became a cochlear implant (CI) recipient when he was four years and 10 months old. Jeffrey says this made a world of difference for him.
“His CI put him in a classroom with typical hearing peers,” Jeffrey says. “He is able to engage in nearly any activity a child with typical hearing could participate and without significant limitation. Most importantly, he can make friends and communicate clearly with them.”
Julian is a bright student who plays competitive soccer, skis, and rides his bike 100 miles at a time! He has ridden 205 miles from Seattle, Washington, to Portland, Oregon! He also loves to laugh and tell jokes.
Why Julian is a HearStrong Champion
Julian is a HearStrong Champion because he is a determined and passionate kid who believes it’s important for people to understand how valuable hearing aids and cochlear implants are.
“Sometimes people think I’m a cyborg,” he jokes. “I reassure them that I’m not and make a joke to lighten up the situation for them.”
When asked what he likes about being a HearStrong Champion, Julian says, “I want to help people learn about hearing loss and cochlear implants so they can live the life they want and realize the sky is the limit on what they can do.”
What is Julian Up To Now?
Since Julian was named a Champion in 2018, he has continued to accomplish many things. Still biking long distances with his father, he has completed the Seattle to Portland ride (205 miles in two days) 5 times!
Not only is he still playing soccer and biking across states, but he is also excelling academically. National Geographic holds an annual Geography Bee, their version of Scripps National Spelling Bee. To qualify, students must win their school’s oral question and answer competition. Winners of each school then must take a written test to be eligible for the state tournament. Finalists are then invited to Washington D.C to compete in the national championship. Julian participated in his school’s competition in both 5th and 6th grade. He won his school in 6th grade after placing 2nd the year before. He qualified to go to the state competition, but unfortunately, because of COVID-19, the statewide and national competitions were canceled in 2020. Julian is a remarkable individual who continues to amaze everyone around him.
His father Jeffrey said, “From my perspective, what is so notable about this is the fact that a deaf child, using cochlear implantation, was able to win a competition in which the questions were not written but were oral, and he had to hear accurately to be able to answer correctly. A true testament to his tenacity in academia and to the technology for which we are so thankful.”