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Hard of hearing audiology student using her experiences to help others like herself
Having been diagnosed with hearing loss at age four, Kendra Cove has been to the audiologist more times than she can count. Now, she’s in her third year of the School of Communication Sciences and Disorder’s Audiology program to help others just like herself.
She says when she got accepted to the audiology program it was like a breath of fresh air.
“I always had to fight for accessibility in learning environments, but this was a program that understands.”
‘Always been a big advocate for myself’
Cove says everyone in the program has been extremely understanding, but there are still barriers.
“I don’t think people realize how exhausting hearing loss can be. For example, this was brought to light one day when my professor asked the class if they noticed I was usually the first one there every day, not because I wanted to, but because I needed the best seat to prioritize my hearing.”
She says in moments like those, and when she talks about her hearing aids, it’s like a lightbulb goes off with classmates and even professors. Cove says it’s the little things people don’t think of, but she’s so appreciative of her colleagues being so interested.
“I’ve always been a really big advocate for myself,” Cove says. “I try to educate everyone I can.”
Her class completed their internship placements over the summer, and she said there was a level of trust with her clients – they know she gets it, and youth love seeing her pink hearing aids.
‘It’s very much hidden’
Cove started a blog called ‘All About Hearing Loss’ to share her experiences and hopefully reach just one person to change their mindset or relate to them. In the few years she’s been drafting blog posts, she has already far surpassed that. She started the blog to advocate for herself and others. During the pandemic, she felt isolated, as the masks took away lip reading.
She wasn’t sure about starting the blog at first, but her audiology professors and classmates encouraged her and emphasized the importance of her voice.
“It’s extremely empowering to share my stories. People thank me for sharing my stories and send appreciation.”
Cove’s hearing loss is genetic, so she has many family members who can relate. She also had lots of people reach out who didn’t realize she was hard of hearing.
“It’s very much hidden, so unless people talk about it or you see their hearing aid(s), you may not know.”
She wishes people understood there is so much more to hearing loss than just aging, and that people knew the major barriers that people with hearing loss face – including price.
“If I could go back in time and talk to myself when I was young – I would say 'remember that everything happens for a reason; your hearing loss is going to cause a lot of hard days, but it’s also going to bring just as many amazing ones.'”
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