FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Christopher Gensch
WASHINGTON, June 19, 2017 – Regan Brady’s hearing loss diagnosis never stopped her from achieving her dreams in life. At just 18 years old, she is a published author, National Merit Scholar, an inaugural 2016 Coolidge Scholarship recipient, and the only girl to receive the prestigious award that year. This month, members from the U.S. Department of Education will present Regan with a Presidential Scholar Medallion in Washington, D.C, one of the nation's highest honors for high school students. She will also attend Harvard University in the fall.
At 13 months old, Regan was diagnosed with severe-to-profound hearing loss, which was a time when Universal Newborn Hearing Screening (UNHS) and identification of congenital hearing loss within the first few months of life were not yet in place in most U.S. states. She wore hearing aids until she received her first cochlear implant at age 20 months and her second implant at age seven-and-a-half.
As a young child with cochlear implants, Regan knew she wanted to share her story and help other deaf children just like her. At 11 years old, she published her first book, “Listening to the Waves,” which details her experience growing up with bilateral cochlear implants.
As a member of the Alexander Graham Bell Association for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (AG Bell), Regan helps educate families who have gone through similar experiences on the listening and spoken language option available to their child. The nonprofit organization, founded by Dr. Alexander Graham Bell, helps families, healthcare providers and professionals understand childhood hearing loss and the importance of early diagnosis and intervention.
“A hearing loss diagnosis can be devastating for a family. I want parents with a child who is deaf or hard of hearing to be educated and understand all the options available to them, including listening and spoken language. My cochlear implants have opened many doors for me, and I’ve never let my hearing loss stand in the way of achieving what I’ve set out to do,” said Regan Brady, author and 2017 Presidential Scholar.
For decades, cochlear implants have helped individuals with severe-to-profound hearing loss hear sound. Unlike hearing aids, cochlear implant technology bypasses damaged areas of the inner ear and sends electronic signals to the brain, which are interpreted as sound. Cochlear implant technology offers many benefits to individuals with hearing loss, including better speech recognition, enhanced speech production, an ability to perceive speech without speechreading, and improved sound awareness and recognition.