“My hearing loss, while an important part of my identity, is only a small part of who I am as a person, and I hope that through sharing my life and experiences with others, I am able to convey that message. I am a fierce advocate for listening and spoken language, as I believe that allowing children to access the hearing world will set them up for the greatest life success.”
Discovering Hearing Loss
Regan was born with severe to profound bilateral hearing loss. When she was born, there was no mandatory newborn hearing screening in the state of Ohio, so her parents didn’t suspect that her hearing was abnormal until she was 9 months old. At 13 months old, Regan received her diagnosis and was fit with hearing aids shortly after. Her parents wanted to provide her with the best life and every opportunity to succeed. They wanted Regan to have access to as much sound as possible, which meant receiving hearing aids and later a cochlear implant.
Life for Regan
Cochlear implants have allowed Regan to develop strong and meaningful relationships with everyone in her life. Regan is so grateful that her parents made the decision to provide her with the access to sound. As a college student, she realizes that her cochlear implants have made it possible for her to succeed in the classroom setting. They have made daily life accessible to Regan by allowing her to converse with everyone she meets in college, listen to music, and participate in her Effective Altruism group at school. She knows that after college, the opportunities for her career are not limited by her hearing and that she can make any situation more listening accessible.
“I recognize that every moment that I spend in the hearing world is one which I would be unable to access without having cochlear implants.”
Why Regan is a HearStrong Champion
Regan is a HearStrong Champion because she has been an advocate for hearing loss since she was a child. At age 11, Regan wrote an autobiography, “Listening to the Waves” that focuses on her hearing impairment and published a website of the same name to help other children and families understand what it is like to grow up with hearing loss and cochlear implants. Regan has been a face within the hearing loss community her entire life. She dedicates her time to speak with families who have children with hearing loss, advocates for equal access to hearing services and resources, and is a role model for others with disabilities.
“I believe that in order for anyone to live their fullest life, they should seek treatment for their hearing loss. It is so important to seek treatment for hearing loss, as even a minimal hearing loss can have a huge effect on self-confidence, self-esteem, and the ability to interact with others. Human interaction is so crucial to mental well-being, and as hearing loss can act as a barrier to communication, it is easy for a hearing loss to translate into poor mental states.”