I enjoy traveling, learning, music, reading, genetics, photography, and playing sports.
I was born with a profound bilateral hearing loss due to Connexin 26 but my hearing loss was not diagnosed until I was 20 months old. I grew up signing SEE2 (Signed Exact English 2) while attending speech therapy. I attended schools in 4 different districts and had very different experiences with attitudes towards hearing loss during my time at each district.
I was mainstreamed with sign language interpreters and CART captioning. I graduated from the University of Kansas with a B.S. in Genetics and became an avid Jayhawk fan. I completed two undergraduate summer internships in Michigan and South Carolina. I spent three years in New York City where I completed my Masters in Human Genetics at Sarah Lawrence College. I spent two and half years employed as a genetic counselor before becoming a Peace Corps Volunteer.
After graduating from Sarah Lawrence College I decided to get a cochlear implant (CI). My surgery was March 5th, 2009 and my CI was activated March 23rd, 2009.
I decided to go bilateral after realizing how much I missed hearing out of both ears (I had always worn 2 hearing aids growing up). My second CI surgery was July 22nd, 2011 and was activated August 9th, 2011
My CI journey has been different than what most people read about. I fall into the category of people who gain the least benefit from their CI due to my hearing loss background. I cannot understand speech nor can I always identify what I’m hearing. I can hear when a person starts talking which alerts me to look at them so I can lipread them. I enjoy music and can identify simple sounds in quiet settings.
I enjoy hearing and silence. Sometimes I want to hear everything and other times all I want is quiet time. I never take my CI for granted and am constantly amazed at what I can hear with it yet I am thankful it has an “off” button.
I like being able to hear and I like being deaf.