“I would love to have the opportunity to help spread the word to others that hearing loss is not just an, “old man” thing. That kids and teenagers also struggle with it. I can educate others on how to talk to someone that has a hearing device and teach them how they work, so they won’t be scared.”
Life before Hearing Aids
Reece failed his hearing test at the hospital the day he was born. After having his first audiologist appointment at just seven days old, he was diagnosed with progressive hearing loss. The doctors were uncertain if he would eventually become completely Deaf. Unfortunately, Reece did not qualify for devices to help him hear better at the time.
As he grew up, his mother noticed he spoke louder, the volume on the TV rose while he was watching, and he asked, “What?” often. In 3rd grade, Reece’s grades began to slip and his parents chose to hold him back a year. When Reece was still struggling in a classroom setting at the start of 4th grade, they made the decision to homeschool him. When Reece was 14, he received his first set of hearing aids and his quality of life improved tremendously.
The Importance of Hearing Better
When Reece first received his hearing aids, he was amazed by each of the new sounds that he could hear. One of his favorite new sounds is the wind blowing in the trees. Before, he always felt the wind and saw the leaves swaying, but until he received his devices, he was not able to hear its soft sound.
“I remember being amazed by the wind and the sound of the turn signal in my mom’s car. My mom cried when she found out that I had never heard that before.”
His hearing aids not only introduced him to new sounds, but also gave him self-confidence. Before his hearing aids, Reece was embarrassed to ask other kids to repeat themselves. He noticed kids would get tired of repeating themselves and eventually drop the conversation, so he learned to just agree with them when he couldn’t hear. Now, because of his new-found confidence, he is very comfortable in groups of people and while talking on the phone. He even has spoken on the news many times as a Teen Ambassador for TNSTRONG to educate others on the dangers of tobacco and its addiction.
Why Reece is a HearStrong Champion
Reece is a HearStrong Champion because he dedicates a great deal of his time to educating others about hearing loss. He is an annual volunteer counselor at camp H.E.A.R where he portrays the character “Blue Ear,” a Marvel superhero who has hearing loss. Reece is driven and determined to make an impact in his community and to reduce the stigma around hearing loss. He takes every opportunity to educate others on what hearing loss is and how his hearing aids work.
“When little kids ask me about my hearing aids, I tell them that my ears don’t work as well as theirs do and these make the sounds louder like a microphone, so I can hear them. It’s kind of like a person wearing glasses who doesn’t see as well as others.”