Simone Welgemoed

Simone Welgemoed

Professional Dancer • Model

“No one needs to suffer when there are options available to them. There is no one solution for all. All that is needed is to find the best solution for every unique hearing impaired individual.

Hearing loss is a journey that each individual walks alone, but having a good support system may improve the journey.”

Simone's Journey

Simone was born with profound bilateral sensory neural hearing loss. Her older sister was also born profoundly deaf, so her parents were told that they should get Simone’s hearing tested right away. The week after she was born, she had a full hearing test. When she was just 22 months old she became the youngest child in Africa to receive a cochlear implant. Simone’s cochlear implant has been a part of her for as long as she can remember. 

“I have never known any other way of life and hearing than the life I experience with my cochlear implant (CI). When I wear my CI, I hear to the best of my capability. It has always been my normalcy.”

The Importance of Hearing Better

Simone is very grateful that she was implanted at a young age. She describes life when her cochlear implant is turned off as experiencing a city black out and the world around her is dead silent. It has provided her with the tools to not only be included, but excel in a hearing society. Since her cochlear implant has been an integral part of who she is since she was born, she never tried to hide her deafness. She wears her devices with pride and strives to be seen for her talent and hard work instead of her cochlear implant. 

Because of her implant, she has the confidence to try anything she puts her mind to. She has found success in ballet, modeling, drama and even piano. Always being reminded of her hearing impairment by peers, she worked even harder to prove that she is just as capable as everyone else. She was told because she couldn’t hear the music, that she would never become a professional ballerina. This gave her the fire she needed to prove them wrong and she became the world’s first deaf professional ballet dancer with a cochlear implant. It also led her on an important journey of complete self-acceptance. In 2012, she became Miss Deaf South Africa. 

“My CI set me up for a lifetime series of eventful and memorable moments of successes as well as defeats that have all lead me to where I am in my journey today. I defeated the odds.”

Why Simone is a HearStrong Champion

Simone is the definition of a HearStrong Champion. She has proved that despite her hearing loss, through hard work and dedication, she can accomplish anything she sets her mind to. In her ballet classes, she pushed herself to be the hardest worker in the room, so that nobody could tell her that not being able to hear the music was the reason she would not find success as a ballerina. She realized that she had an opportunity to use her platform to raise awareness and educate others about hearing loss. By being open about her own journey with others, she is able to make a difference in advocating and educating people about hearing loss and deafness. She has found that it’s extremely important to motivate and encourage others by sharing real life examples. She gives motivational speeches through organizations, at events, and Deaf and Hard of Hearing schools worldwide. 

“My passion became speaking about dreams and the many opportunities for the deaf youth. Many are made to believe that being born deaf, means that life has to be restricted and that there are only certain paths to choose from. I defied the odds and I want to continue inspiring future young minds to do exactly that.”

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