Name: Carol Rynar
University: Canisius College
Major: Urban Education
Processor: Baha® 3, unilateral
Carol is a 2018 Anders Tjellström Scholarship Winner!
Carol grew up with normal hearing, but when she was in high school a complication during a routine surgery left her completely deaf in her right ear.
She said her hearing loss—plus severe tinnitus- made it difficult to navigate large social situations.
“I just kind of shied away from being around a lot of people because I thought I’d miss things,” she said.
Carol said she was excited when she found out she qualified for the Baha® System. After it was activated, she said she felt more confident communicating with others.
“I did notice pretty quickly that I felt more comfortable,” she said. “I didn’t feel like I had to be on the right side of everything to catch something— I could stand in a group of people and be comfortable and hear what people are saying from all around the circle.”
Carol recently graduated with her undergraduate degree from Dickinson College in Pennsylvania, where she studied German with a minor in philosophy.
She currently works for Teach For America Corps while pursuing her master’s degree in urban education at Canisius College.
She said her Baha System has been very helpful in allowing her to her communicate with students in the classroom.
“I’m not always the only teacher in the classroom, (and) a lot of the time that means squatting down next to desks, talking to students face-to-face, and working with them through problems,” she said. “Without my Baha, I’d have to be a lot more strategic as to where I place myself to interact with that student… It has relieved a lot of what would be anxious situations.”
Now, Carol said she loves being a part of the Cochlear community and using her processor to spark conversations with others about her hearing journey.
“My favorite thing about wearing the Baha is talking to people about it, why I have it, and what it means,” she said. “I like being a part of this community, in terms of having conversations with people about what it means to be different, to have something that makes you unique, to show how something that can be seen as adversity can be overcome through the actual means.”
Carol said she gets her inspiration from the teachers she works with every day.
“They inspire me every day to keep doing what I’m doing,” she said. “I see them working hard and being persistent in a very, very difficult and challenging job. Teachers come up with new ideas and ways to tackle problems and complications we face.”
Her advice to others with hearing loss is not to be afraid to ask for what they need in order to succeed.
“It’s okay to ask ‘what’ for clarification, for repetition,” she said. “Continue asking questions. That’s coming from my teacher side too, but don’t be afraid to ask for more, because you’re entitled to it… You shouldn’t feel like you’re bothering anyone.”
The Cochlear Anders Tjellström Scholarship is a unique award open to Baha System recipients around the world. It honors academic achievement and a demonstrated commitment to the Cochlear ideals of leadership and humanity.