“My favorite part about my hearing aids is picking new colors for my earmolds. I like how with my hearing aids I can understand my teacher and friends better.”
Discovering Hearing Loss
Margaret had above-average speech and language until around age 4 when her parents noticed it started to decline, and she struggled to follow directions. Her mother, Rachel, who is a speech-language pathologist, decided to have her hearing tested. Margaret was diagnosed with bilateral mild to severe sloping high-frequency hearing loss. At 4.5 years old, Margaret received her first pair of hearing aids. Her younger brother, Teddy’s hearing, was tested after she was diagnosed, and to their surprise, he received an identical diagnosis. Although her parents were worried because they were not given much direction on hearing aid management and future outcomes, Margaret displayed positivity throughout her fitting.
“Nonetheless, Margaret handled her first hearing aid fitting with excitement and grace. At 4.5 years old, Margaret may have been too young to fully comprehend the situation, but she was very positive and willing to embrace this new experience. She proved much of our adult worries needless,” Rachel said.
Importance of Hearing Better
Immediately after being fit with hearing aids, her parents and preschool teachers noticed a remarkable difference in her development. She was able to learn her classmates’ names, sing along to songs they were learning, and participate in extracurricular activities. Because of her hearing devices, she could hear, distinguish, and produce the high-frequency speech sounds she was previously missing.
“Margaret’s teachers constantly remark on the difference it makes keeping her on task, helping her distinguish sounds when learning to read and spell, reducing listening fatigue, and keeping her generally up to speed on classroom and school news that might otherwise be missed.”
Margaret is involved in many extracurricular activities including, softball, basketball, swimming, Girl Scouts, Camp Invention, Lego Club, and hip hop. In areas like a dance room, gymnasium, and especially a pool where it is challenging for Margaret to hear instructions, her coaches and teachers use a Roger System assistive listening device.
Why Margaret is a HearStrong Champion
Margaret is a HearStrong Champion because she advocates for herself and strives to educate others about hearing loss and hearing devices even at a young age. She proudly volunteers to explain her hearing aids to her peers. She teaches them about the different parts and why she needs to wear them. After receiving brand new hearing aids through HearStrong’s Pay it Forward program, Margaret couldn’t wait to show them off to her friends and family. Margaret is doing her part in helping eliminate the stigma around different abilities and assistive devices. She never lets her hearing loss be the reason to miss out on something. She is a strong and optimistic girl who wants to grow up to accomplish amazing things like her role model Helen Keller.
“I want to be a HearStrong Champion because someday I want to help people who are stressed out or nervous about their hearing loss. I want to help by talking to them and teaching them what it is like to have hearing loss and how to deal with it at school and home. Gym and the lunchroom can be difficult.”