Andrea's Story

My name is Andrea Happel and I am 12 years old. I live in La Crosse, WI. I have been hard of hearing since I was diagnosed with a mild to moderate hearing lose when I was 4. While I passed the new-born hearing screening my hearing just went away as I got older. We don’t know what is causing my hearing loss; we do know that I need hearing aids. When the doctor told me that I needed hearing aids I was excited. When I got them they were better than I dreamed. I didn’t say “what” as much, and in school I didn’t need the teacher to repeat directions. Even though the hearing aids were awesome, they cost so much money. We got a loan from the clinic to pay for them. When I first got my hearing aids, I could hear my hair move – did you know your hair makes sound when it moves? I didn’t – until I got my hearing aids. Also at first, flushing the toilet made me jump because it made a loud sound! But now I know that my hearing aids do so much more for me like I can hear clearer, the teacher doesn’t have to repeat things for me, I can answer my parents on their first call (I can choose to “selective listen!”). My hearing aids also make me more interesting - I get the opportunity to teach people about hearing and how hearing works, I also get to teach people that just because we have hearing aids doesn’t mean we need help – we’re just as smart as or good as anyone without hearing aids. I think everyone who has hearing loss should have the same opportunities as me. Hearing should be something everyone can choose to have – regardless of how much money you do or don’t have. This is why Senate Bill 27 and Assembly Bill 16 needs to pass. Thank you for listening.