“I hope to inspire other kids with hearing loss; to let them know that their hearing loss doesn’t have to hold them back.”
Discovering Hearing Loss
Sophie was born with hereditary reverse slope hearing loss. Her father, grandmother, and several other family members have the same type of hearing loss as well. When she first entered school, Sophie’s teacher noticed she wasn’t hearing instructions as well as other students. At home, her parents noticed that Sophie’s speech began to slur and she would no longer turn around when her name was called. After suspicion that she may have the same hearing loss that runs in her family, Sophie was brought to an audiologist for formal diagnosis. She received her first set of hearing aids when she was five years old.
Overcoming Hearing Loss
Sophie was excited to show off her blue sparkly devices to her kindergarten class. She was quickly discouraged though when her peers began to bully her about her hearing aids. She started to cover her ears with her hair and wouldn’t talk much about her hearing loss. As she grew up, and with the support of her family, teachers, and speech therapist, she was able to take pride in wearing her devices again.
Now as a teenager, she is happy to educate others about her hearing loss and even jokes about it to make others more comfortable. Sophie is a leader in her classroom and an elite soccer star. She enjoys and appreciates music because she knows without her hearing aids she wouldn’t be able to listen to it. When Sophie upgraded her hearing aids a few years ago, she was able to appreciate even more sounds.
“I remember how great it was to be able to talk to someone on the phone and be able to understand what they were saying.”
Why Sophie is a HearStrong Champion
Sophie is a HearStrong Champion because she advocates for hearing loss and has learned to not let her hearing define her. Sophie started playing soccer around the same time she received her first set of hearing aids. She was cut from teams throughout the years because certain coaches felt she couldn’t be an elite athlete without being 100% able to hear. There are times when she misses certain calls on the field, but Sophie doesn’t let her hearing loss hold her back from her passion. She plays soccer on her high school team, a club team, the Olympic Development Team, and the United States Deaf Women’s National Team. Her goal is to play for a professional women’s team.
Sophie is proud of who she is, and wants to inspire other kids with hearing loss to not let it hold them back from following their dreams.
“I want kids to know they are just kids that happen to have a hearing loss, like kids with glasses. I have had too many people tell me that I can’t do something because of my hearing loss and I want other kids like me to know that is not true.”