Having A Hearing Loss Does Not Mean You’re “Broken”

Here at ReSound, hearing the stories of the people affected by hearing loss and how they’ve overcome the challenges of living with their disability, really inspires us in our daily work to create advanced hearing solutions.  These are people’s lives and technology can and does make a difference to them.

ReSound was recently asked to sit on a panel of judges to award two “Help America Hear” Scholarships through the Foundation for Sight and Sound.  Here is the winning essay.

Dylan VeikBy Dylan Veik

My name is Dylan Veik and I was three years old when I was diagnosed with a moderate to severe hearing loss–most likely due to complications when I was born. When I was younger, I spent many years working with a speech therapist and learning American Sign Language. With the use of hearing aids, I now rarely need to use my signing skills or an interpreter.

I believe I was attracted to visual stimuli since my hearing was impaired and I cannot remember a time when I haven’t dreamed of becoming a Media Artist, working with computers and cameras. This has been a life-long passion of mine. I want to create and design special and visual effects that will allow others to see the beauty in my work. I am very happy to say that I have applied to and been accepted at the Art Institute International of Minnesota, where my goal is to obtain a Bachelor of Science Degree in Media Arts.

I have been employed at Hy-Vee for almost two years. I have worked my way up from stocking, carrying out groceries and bagging, to becoming a cashier. I am a dependable worker and have developed a positive relationship with my managers and other staff. While working at Hy-Vee, I have been saving my money for college and living expenses to be able to attend The Art Institute. I am applying for this scholarship because I would like to take some of the burden off of my mother who is trying to find ways to help offset some of my expenses so I may attend the college of my choice. In addition, I will be taking out loans and working to pay for my education.

In school I have been involved in a variety of activities. I played basketball and soccer, participated in chess club, ACE (architecture, construction, engineering), and played a role in the school play. Some of my extra-curricular activities include racing go-carts,
building RC (remote control) cars and playing recreational soccer. These activities have given me a wide variety of experiences and allowed me to meet many different types of people. Furthermore, I have participated in community service days where I helped
clean local parks for the City of Urbandale.

In my opinion, hearing loss can be expressed in many different ways. There is quite a bit of difference between being deaf and being hard of hearing. Hard of hearing is when someone can still hear and talk but they may need hearing assistance with hearing aids. Having a hearing loss does not mean you are ‘broken’. It just means you cannot hear as well as others and you may depend more on your sense of sight for visual cues to aid in your ability to understand.

Being hard of hearing has certainly affected the way I learn in school. It takes a lot of work for me to do what people do naturally without a hearing loss. At times I get distracted and can’t focus in big classroom settings. When I take tests it helps to go into a different room in order to think without the background noise. When the teacher plays a video and it is important to take notes, I may miss some important facts. Or if someone is talking behind me and they are closer then the teacher, my hearing aids may focus on those talking behind me rather than the teacher in front of me. For me, wearing hearing aids and feeling out of place in school was difficult at times but with the help from my teachers and encouragement from my family, I learned to use these tools to assist me in school. I was able to perform better as a student and adapt into the education system. At one time I was behind my peers by over two years in reading and reading comprehension. Hearing aids have provided me the ability to understand spoken language and to overcome this deficit. By third grade, I was able to transition from a self-contained deaf education classroom into a regular education classroom.

Having a hearing loss has also impacted my recreational time as well at my job. For example, when going to a pool with my friends I have to remove my hearing aids so they don’t get damaged which makes hearing and understanding extremely difficult. I work at a grocery store as a cashier. When a customer comes through my line and I can’t put their words together I have to request assistance from a co-worker to understand them. All in all though, hearing aids have helped a lot with getting involved and staying connected with others. Without hearing aids, I would need an interpreter to accompany me much of the time.

With new hearing aids, I would be able to engage in larger group activities. They would also assist me with my career choice, as I may be required to do some sound editing. Newer hearing aids would help enhance everything around me and help me feel more connected and confident. Hearing aids with more capabilities in a background noise setting would benefit me greatly while attending college. New hearing aids will allow me to locate where the sound and speech are originating and help me in many different ways such as work, hobbies, friends, family, and staying connected as well not feeling left out of conversations. In addition, newer hearing aids would allow me to hear better on the phone, which is sometimes difficult.

In summary, my goal is to follow my dreams and become a Media Artist. I have learned to advocate for myself and I strive to be the best I can be in all aspects of my life. I would appreciate your consideration for the Foundation for Sight and Sound Scholarship and the ReSound hearing aids. If I am awarded this scholarship with the ReSound hearing aids I will utilize the resources you have provided for me and do my best to make my family, my teachers and you proud that you have chosen me for this opportunity.

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