Building Confidence While Growing Up With Hearing Loss
When Marissa was born, she was diagnosed with moderate-severe bilateral hearing loss and received her first hearing aids at just 4 months old.
It’s often daunting when a parent learns their child is deaf or hard of hearing (DHOH), and Marissa recalls it was no different for her mom and dad.
“It was a scary, uncertain time for my parents. There were so many unknown factors and so much to learn.”
Growing up as a naturally shy person, Marissa says that having to speak up for herself has helped boost her confidence over the years. She has navigated school with success, creating strong relationships with teachers and classmates.
“I am socially accepted by my peers and find teachers very helpful and understanding.”
At times, Marissa struggles with hearing her classmates and teachers, but she knows that she’s still adjusting to new classroom environments.
Marissa’s Greatest Achievement
Marissa has worked hard to progress her speech and notes this as one of her biggest accomplishments. As her speech has improved, Marissa has developed pride in being hard of hearing. She has been able to overcome shyness and speak up for herself confidently.
Her mother agrees, and credits CCHAT as one of the key factors for Marissa’s development:
“CCHAT has given our family and Marissa great tools for advocacy. Marissa has great pride in who she is as a DHOH person.”
Marissa’s Time at the CCHAT Center
Marissa began her time at the CCHAT Center in the toddler class with Licia and Taci when she was just 2 years old. She continued to attend through kindergarten before mainstreaming into her local school district.
Through the years, her mom has loved to be able to talk with other parents who are experiencing the same struggles, accomplishments, fears and victories.
Marissa and her mother are both appreciative of their time at CCHAT. “ (It) helped build relationships and develop a sense of community during a time we often felt unsure and alone,” says Marissa’s mom.
Marissa’s Advice To Other Students, Parents & Friends
Marissa advises students to just be themselves - and learn to advocate for themselves. She’s certain that if you let your teachers know exactly what you need, you’ll have no problem in class. If you can find a friend to ask questions, this can assist you throughout your school day
“Be confident in your hearing loss. Don't be afraid to talk about it with your classmates and peers.”
Children with hearing loss will face challenges in school, so Marissa stresses that parents should let these kids go at their own pace. As a basketball player, Marissa also believes it’s important for parents to encourage participation in extracurricular activities like sports and music.
Marissa’s mom suggests that parents provide strong support for their child, stay positive, and normalize hearing loss instead of victimizing it.
If you’re a friend of somebody who is deaf or hard of hearing, Marissa encourages you to be supportive and to not treat them any differently than you would others — even if they say something different or don’t hear what you say correctly.
Want to read more about CCHAT Center’s alumni? Check out our alumni page.