The teens, ranging from ages 15-18, traveled from all across the U.S. and Canada to Phonak U.S. headquarters in Warrenville, Ill. They joined together with one main thing in common; their hearing loss.
After applying to be a member of the Phonak Teen Advisory Board, these teens set out to learn more about the Phonak community. With their hair tied back and Roger systems in hand, their hearing technology pride was evident within the first few minutes of meeting them.
Despite most of them wearing hearing technology for a majority of their lives, many had never known any other teenager with hearing loss. For some, this was their first time meeting a group of deaf and hard of hearing teens. The teens ranged from having profound to mild and bilateral to unilateral hearing loss. One of the teen advisors, Natalie, described what it felt like to meet other teens like her.
“I have never met someone my age who also has hearing loss,” Natalie says. “It feels good to be here and see that I am not alone.”
“I have never met someone my age who also has hearing loss.”
The parents also found support from one another and were grateful to have the chance to be involved along with their teen. Teen advisor, Finn brought his mother Jennifer who expressed her gratitude for the teen advisory board.
“Thank you for not only inspiring Finn but for accepting him, empowering him and giving him a whole new gang of support,” said Jennifer.
These teens are serving as role models for other teens around the world with hearing loss. According to Web MD, “more than 7,000 young people between the ages of 12 and 19” have a hearing loss. This number is predicted to increase due to unsafe listening habits with headphones.
With an increasing number of teens with hearing loss in today’s world, Phonak sees the important need gain a better understanding of teens with hearing loss today and how we can prevent this number from increasing through spreading hearing loss awareness. These teens will also share their knowledge about teen topics such as advocating for themselves and ending stigmas attached to hearing loss. The teen’s parents also will also join their children in working to change perceptions of hearing loss.
“As a parent, we should all be proud of that our children were chosen to be Phonak Teen Advisors,” Natasha, mom of Mia, explained. “It is a great opportunity.”
Stayed tuned on Hearing Like Me to learn more about our 2018 Phonak Teen Advisors!