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October 20, 2021

A Southern California is starting her freshman year at Ohio State University with brand new state-of-the-art hearing aids. Angeli B. was one of five high school seniors across the country that were awarded a brand-new set of hearing aids as part of a nationwide essay contest. Hear the Need, a 501c3 charitable foundation proudly donated the hearing aids to the winners of the Help America Hear essay contest. Shortly before she left to begin her freshman year at Ohio State University, winner Angeli was fit with her brand-new hearing aids at Sonus Hearing Care Professionals clinic in Orange. We talked to hear about her winning essay and what getting new hearing aids means to her as she begins her studies to become an audiologist and eventually help others with their hearing healthcare.

What inspired you to enter the essay contest and what does it mean to you to have a winning essay? I entered the essay contest because I needed new hearing aids for the university as my old ones broke. However, I also understood that my story is a unique, yet relatable one that is important for people to understand. So many disabled students do not know how to advocate for themselves and sharing my own self-discovery story will help people know what disabled students need: resources and support. Having a winning essay means that my story will be heard. What's something you think people should know about people with hearing loss? Hearing people need to understand that every deaf/hard-of-hearing person is unique in their support needs. Whether it's louder volume, captioning, or better articulation, listen to what the individual needs. Personally, hearing aids were exactly what I needed in order to succeed in university. Do you have a favorite feature with your new hearing aids? My new hearing aids are much more advanced than my old ones. I really appreciate how they connect to my phone because this really decreases the chance of me dropping them (before, I would have to switch between earbuds and hearing aids), and it allows me to better understand videos and phone calls. I also love the various programs on them because it truly fits my surroundings at all times. As a student, what does it mean to you to be able to get new state-of-the-art hearing aids? New state-of-the-art hearing aids mean that I can be an independent and functioning member of society. I do not need to rely on transcribers in my classes or my friends to help me communicate in everyday life. It also makes me feel a lot more confident about socializing and participating in events without fear of not understanding what people are saying. What made you want to pursue studying audiology? I want to pursue audiology due to my personal experiences with my own audiologist. She was the first person to consider hearing aids for me, and I am so grateful for her because she actually listened to my concerns and wanted to help me. I hope to help and connect to deaf/hard-of-hearing children and teens who struggled like me. Is there anything else you would like to share about your experience with your fitting at Sonus or your new hearing aids? The people at Sonus were incredibly nice, and the audiologist there was actually an alumni from my school (the Ohio State University). I am really appreciative of her explaining everything about my new hearing aids so clearly. Hear the Need is a 501c3 nonprofit organization committed to helping foster the life-changing impact of hearing by providing and supporting access to hearing technology for people in need. Hear The Need proudly partners with other nonprofit organizations that have a need for hearing technology donations for the communities they serve.

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