Name: Natalia Adriance
University: The University of Notre Dame
Major: Business with a minor in history
Processor: Nucleus 7, unilateral
Meet Natalia, one of the 2018 Graeme Clark Scholarship winners!
When Natalia was born, doctors didn’t automatically test for hearing loss, so they are unsure if she was born with hearing loss or if it developed later. When she was eventually diagnosed with hearing loss, her parents decided to pursue a cochlear implant.
“They wanted to give me the ability to participate in the hearing world,” Natalia said.
She said growing up with hearing loss meant a lot of hard work to catch up on comprehension and pronunciation.
“I went through a lot of speech therapy in order to speak well, and that was a huge challenge for me,” she said. “My parents, audiologists, doctors, and therapists helped me a lot with how to speak and how to pronounce words. They helped correct me when I said things incorrectly and that really helped me overcome it.”
Natalia said the hard work paid off when she was able to do the things she loved, including athletics. In high school she played three sports: volleyball, basketball and lacrosse.
“My Cochlear Implant helped me communicate with my teammates and coaches, to be able to hear plays and that kind of thing,” she said.
Now Natalia attends The University of Notre Dame, studying business with a minor in history.
“I consider myself a really well-rounded person— I’m a logical thinker and I’m really good at problem solving,” she said. “I don’t know what I want to do with my future, but I feel like majoring in business will help me continue to be a well-rounded person and apply myself in the future.”
She said she chose Notre Dame because its focus went beyond just academics.
“While trying to choose colleges, Notre Dame struck me as one that really focused on community, family, being around people who truly support you, and your educational goals,” Natalia said. “It did not seem to be a very cutthroat school. People work hard but they also enjoy having new experiences and they really care about each other.”
Natalia said she draws inspiration from her dad.
“He was always there for me when I was struggling, and I’m inspired by the choices he made in life to do what he really enjoys,” she said. “He doesn’t enjoy what makes the most money, but he does what he loves. He really cares about the people around him and he’s always been there for me.”
Her advice to other Cochlear recipients is to take advantage of what makes them unique.
“Challenge yourself and don’t be afraid to do what you want,” she said. “Do not see your cochlear implant as a restriction, but rather use it as a way to develop other crucial skills that will be useful later in life, such as being able to overcome other obstacles and having empathy for others.”
The Cochlear Graeme Clark scholarship is awarded to Cochlear™ Nucleus® Implant recipients. Applicants must be a citizen of the United States or Canada. It honors academic achievement and a demonstrated commitment to the Cochlear ideals of leadership and humanity.