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  • Writer's pictureHearing Our Way

Overcoming Obstacles: Regan

HOW does Regan hear? With a lacrosse stick in one hand, a book in the other, and two cochlear implants!

All About Me

Hi, I’m Regan, and I am 19-years-old. I’m originally from Shaker Heights, Ohio, but now I live in Boston, Massachusetts where I’m a freshman at Harvard University!

Hearing My Way

When I was born, there was no mandatory newborn hearing screening. It wasn’t until I was 9-months-old that my parents began to suspect I might have hearing loss. I was taken to many doctors until finally when I was 13-months-old, I was diagnosed with a severe to profound bilateral hearing loss. My parents didn’t know anything about raising a child with hearing loss, but they knew they wanted to set me up with the best chance for success in the hearing world. I received hearing aids after I was diagnosed and progressed very well with them. My parents’ main goal was to provide me with access to the most sound possible, so when I was 20-months-old I received my first cochlear implant. They learned that there is a prime window of language development and that the cochlear implant could provide my brain with access to sound and language. I received my second cochlear implant in second grade.

Overcoming Obstacles

Living with hearing loss can present challenging situations—sometimes even on a daily basis. In noisy restaurants it can be difficult to hear, and at times I miss things in class. I believe that it’s how you deal with these challenges that determines how successful you are. I think the key to success is trying to embrace every obstacle with a can-do attitude and positive mindset.

Listening to the Waves

Growing up, my family and I got involved with hearing loss outreach efforts together. When I started meeting families who were contemplating cochlear implant surgery for their children, I realized that many parents do not know what to expect and don’t always understand how the cochlear implant can change their lives. My own parents also felt this way, and meeting a teenager with cochlear implants who was very successful helped them to decide to move forward with surgery for me. I decided to write a book that would serve families by detailing my own life experiences and writing about how having cochlear implants has allowed me to live in the hearing world to the fullest. I have been able to meet so many families and have heard the book has been a valuable tool for parents and that children and teens enjoy reading about someone who has gone through the same challenges they have.

Sister, Sister

My sister Ryan is almost four years younger than me, yet we are very close. Growing up, Ryan was always my translator in the swimming pool (before waterproof cochlear implants existed!) and always looked out for me in noisy situations. As cliche as it sounds, I think of her as my trusty sidekick, and I am so grateful for her constant support.

Check out Ryan's new pen pal program - free for Hearing Our Way subscribers!

Harvard Happiness

I visited Harvard a few years ago and remember loving the campus and atmosphere. I decided to apply Early Action, and I got in! My advice to other students in the college process is to give extra focus to your personal statement. This is your chance to present admissions officers with who you are. Conveying personal qualities and future aspirations through the essay is key to the success of your application. I chose to include my hearing loss in my essay because it was an integral component of the topic I was writing about. Include your hearing loss if it is relevant to your essay, but don’t just squeeze it in. Once at school, your self-advocacy skills are key. I advocate for myself through working with the Office of Accessible Education to plan my accommodations. I never shy away from ensuring that my needs are met.

Presidential Scholar

In 2017, I was awarded the prestigious Presidential Scholar Medallion and attended a weekend reception in Washington, D.C. There, I participated in inspiring activities such as visiting the White House, meeting U.S. government officials, and creating lasting friendships with other scholars from across the country. After learning about different careers in public service, I felt motivated to follow

in their footsteps to help improve our country. I plan to study economics and psychology and hope to work in the public sector devising policy or working for a nonprofit. My activism efforts throughout my life have demonstrated to me the ability that I have to make a difference, and I aim to continue to do so through my career and life.


AG Bell has been a part of my life as long as I can remember. My family gained invaluable resources and attended conventions from the time I was in the children’s program to serving on panels and participating in the Exhibit Hall. Check out the next convention coming up this summer!

There's more! See the print issue of Hearing Our Way for Regan's full story + her faves! Subscribe today.

Do you know someone with hearing loss who should be on our next cover? We want to interview them!

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