Cochlear Family is a growing, thriving community of people whose lives have been transformed through Cochlear technology.
Meet Elena L., Miss Pennsylvania 2016. She is a proud member of the Cochlear Family with an amazing story to share:
Elena contracted bacterial meningitis and lost her hearing when she was 4 years old.
Her mother, Effie, said they didn’t want Elena’s hearing loss to limit what she was able to achieve.
“Elena loved dancing and singing and reciting poetry, and we knew that’s what she wanted for her life,” Effie said.
So when they found out Elena qualified for a Cochlear Implant, Effie said, “it wasn’t even a choice.”
“We knew what we had to do,” she said.
Elena received a Cochlear Implant and began attending the DePaul School for Hearing and Speech.
When she was 14, she began competing in pageants. She went on to hold three state titles and in 2016 she took on the title of Miss Pennsylvania USA.
“I made great connections through pageantry, and I somehow over the years became a ‘local celebrity,’ of sorts, in Pittsburg,” Elena laughed.
She was recently invited to voice the advertising spots for a local radio station.
“It’s funny, being 100 percent deaf, and here I am doing radio ads for a huge corporation,” she said.
She also enjoys returning to her alma mater, the DePaul School, several times a year to visit with students.
“It’s always so nice to see their faces light up when I show them that I have a Cochlear Implant too, and it’s okay to have something that’s maybe a little bit different about you,” Elena said. “You can still do anything you want in your life, achieve whatever you want. Don’t let it stop you or hold you back.”
She said her true passion in life is helping and inspiring others. She draws her own inspiration from other members of the Cochlear Family.
“It’s so nice to see that there are so many people out there that are a part of the Cochlear Family that are willing to help you, to give you advice, to tell you their stories, to provide you with information and facts, resources,” she said. “It’s so nice to know that I’ll always have these people, through the rest of my life.”
Elena’s dad, Paul, said that for their family, the web of support they experienced throughout the journey was critical.
“Cochlear was sort of in the middle of that web of support,” he said.
Her mom, Effie, agreed.
“Cochlear has really been the strongest partner that anyone could ever ask for,” she said. “They are a partner for life.”