Cayman student named as ‘HearStrong Champion’

Zachary Franklin, a 16-year-old student athlete who has had hearing loss for most of his life, has been recognized by the HearStrong Foundation.

According to HearStrong, its mission is to “shatter social stigmas surrounding hearing loss and radically challenge the general perception of hearing in our society,” and help address the 80 percent of people with hearing loss who face some form of barrier to treatment.

HearStrong celebrates people worldwide who have faced the challenges surrounding their hearing loss “with a determined spirit, a focused mind and an unwavering heart.” These individuals are then named as HearStrong Champions.

Audiology practice Cayman Hearing Center has been involved with HearStrong since the foundation began in 2013. This summer, Dr. Annette Stephenson nominated patient Zachary Franklin to become a HearStrong Champion. Zachary is involved in swimming, sailing, track and field and soccer. He is also a prefect and a peer mentor at his school.

He was first diagnosed with hearing loss in elementary school. His mother Lisa was surprised to hear his teacher say that he was having difficulties in the classroom because he was a very polite and well-behaved child. She then began to suspect that there was a problem with his hearing.

After visiting a number of specialists, it was discovered that Zachary had mild to moderate hearing loss. He was fitted with hearing aids soon after, and has been wearing them ever since.

“What I like most about wearing hearing aids is being able to build relationships with my peers, teachers and myself. It’s nice to hear my own voice,” said Zachary.

Today, Zachary wants his experience to inspire others with hearing loss to go after their goals and never hold themselves back.

“As a HearStrong Champion, I have the opportunity to show others that being hearing impaired does not dictate who you are or who you can be in life. I have not allowed it to be my story,” he said.

To nominate someone to be the next HearStrong Champion, visit www.hearstrong.org/nominate.php. For more information on Cayman Hearing Center and its involvement with HearStrong, contact 946-9174.