16-year-old Matt Adams of Lafitte, Louisiana recently enjoyed the NBA All Star Weekend festivities in New Orleans. But Matt wasn’t there merely as a fan; he was being honored by the HearStrong Foundation as a HearStrong champion. Matt is legally deaf and wears hearing aids, and he was being recognized as a HearStrong champion for the hard work and dedication he has showed in school, athletics, and life, and as a role model for those struggling with hearing loss.
A Well-Rounded Teenager
Matt is currently a junior and excels both in the classroom and in the athletic arena. He takes honors and Advanced Placement classes and maintains a GPA above 3.0. He also participates in several sports, such as football and wrestling. He recently won the Louisiana Division Three Wrestling Championship in the 182 pound weight class. Matt doesn’t let his hearing loss prevent him from living his life the way he wants to, as his hearing aids enable him to hear well enough to go about his life normally. As he told Nola.com, “The ability to hear better has allowed me to live a normal life, go to a regular school, make friends, get a good education, and participate in the things that other kids do. I play sports, have a girlfriend, and go to the movies; little things that most people take for granted.”
Dealing With Hearing Loss
When Matt was still a baby, doctors told his mother Lisa that he was already suffering from some hearing loss in both ears. It got worse as he got older, and by age four his mother got him tested and fitted for a hearing aid. It drastically improved his ability to hear and go about his day-to-day life, although not without some limitations. In school he has to sit near the teacher and when things get loud he has trouble picking out individual noises or voices.
HearStrong Champion and Role Model
At All Star Weekend, Matt was honored by the HearStrong Foundation at an event attended by retired players like Julius Erving and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. “Meeting all of these guys who were so great was as exciting as being honored. They were all really nice and I’ll never forget the experience,” Matt told Nola.com.
Matt’s perseverance, achievement, and positive attitude made him an excellent candidate to be chosen as a HearStrong champion. According to the HearStrong Foundation’s website, “HearStrong champions serve as a role model to empower the 80 percent of people with hearing loss who have yet to seek assistance and motivate them to take control of their hearing health.” Hopefully Matt’s example will show other people with hearing loss that they can still live normal lives and achieve their goals if they manage their hearing loss with the proper treatment.