My hearing aids have TREMENDOUSLY improved my quality of life and I could not be more proud to wear them.
Experiencing Hearing Loss
Katie was diagnosed with high frequency hearing loss when she was a freshman in high school after failing a school screening. She does not know how long she truly had hearing loss since she didn’t realize she was missing out on sounds. Once she received her first pair of hearing aids she was able to hear turn signals, fans, keys, and bird songs, all of which she never realized made noise.
“I had no idea the world was such a noisy place!”
Because Katie went so long without ever being diagnosed with hearing loss she never knew any different. Looking back, Katie remembers constantly asking people to repeat themselves, listened to music louder than her siblings did, and struggled to understand her high school teachers. Katie’s youngest sister, Mackenzie, was Katie’s inspiration for getting hearing aids since she also had hearing loss.
“Growing up, my younger sister, Mackenzie, was always the little girl with hearing aids. Even from a young age, she never let that define her and when she found out I had hearing loss, she was excited because now we could wear hearing aids together.”
The Importance of Hearing Better
Although Katie was made fun of for wearing hearing aids she believes every moment was worth it because of how far she has come. Katie is now an audiology doctoral student helping her patients with hearing loss by showing them firsthand how hearing aids can significantly improve communication abilities. Katie’s hearing aids are her “lifeline” as she would not be able to communicate with her patients without them.
“My hearing aids have given me the chance to be independent in clinic and show my preceptors I am capable of accomplishing exactly what is expected from me to be a competent clinician.”
Katie’s experience with hearing loss and wearing hearing aids helps her as a doctoral student because she can relate to her patients on a personal level. She recalls a time when an eleven year old girl and her parents were nervous about getting her hearing aids, but once the audiologist told them that Katie wore hearing aids their faces lit up. Katie has proven that hearing loss does not have to stop you from achieving your goals.
Why Katie is a HearStrong Champion
Katie is a HearStrong Champion because she is driven and determined to make an impact and change the negative stigma associated with hearing loss. Katie is the Membership Chair of the Student Academy of Audiology and is also a camp counselor for CampUS, an overnight summer camp at OSU for teens with hearing loss. Through these organizations Katie acts as an advocate for school aged students to show them that they are capable of accomplishing anything.
“Nobody should ever be defined or limited by their hearing loss and it is my goal to help them see this.”