Meredith Segal is our Seen & Heard profile for the September/October 2014 issue of Hearing Loss Magazine, published bimonthly by the Hearing Loss Association of America. I photographed Meredith at HLAA Convention 2011 in Washington, D.C.
MEREDITH SEGAL / Hockessin, Delaware / Born April 6, 1978 in Bogota, Colombia
THE BEST THING ABOUT BEING AN HLAA MEMBER IS… knowing that I am not alone in what I am dealing with and that there are people who I can reach out to and know that together we can come up with a plan to get through the challenges. It helps to brainstorm with others who truly know what you’re dealing with.
MY HEARING LOSS… My parents didn’t discover my hearing loss until I had testing in kindergarten. I didn’t get my first pair of bilateral hearing aids until first grade (I was 6). My hearing had always stayed the same until I got to high school and I knew once I was switched from in-the-ear to the behind-the-ear hearing aids, my hearing was worse. I qualified for a cochlear implant and got it March 5, 2013. I now have a cochlear implant in my left ear and wear a hearing aid in my right ear.
WHEN I WAS LITTLE, I WANTED TO BE A… basketball player (got a lesson in reality from my mom, who informed me that I couldn’t be a professional basketball player because of my height—I was in either fourth or fifth grade).
MY FAVORITE CHILDHOOD MEMORY IS… spending time with my family, trips we took together, and getting to go to Honduras with my parents to get my new sister and brother!
I LOVE THE SOUND OF… thunder (until my cochlear implant I couldn’t hear it at all). I love hearing my nephews and niece telling me they love me.
I MOST DEFINITELY AM NOT… taller than three feet (91 cm)!
I MISS… my dad and late orthopedic surgeon Dr Kopits.
PEOPLE WOULD BE SURPRISED THAT I… took Taekwondo and broke a one-half inch thick board with my foot; that I used to take horseback riding lessons.
HAPPINESS IS… loving yourself and accepting the things that make you different.
I HAVE A FEAR OF… bugs and bats. Also, I am wary of dogs tails—especially if they are wagging. I have been knocked off my feet with a dog’s tail!
I WOULD LOVE TO MEET… my birth parents (my adoption was a closed adoption).
WORKING NINE TO FIVE… I worked for Discover Card, Kmart (seasonal), Kohl’s (seasonal), assistant to the manager of my ENT doctor’s practice (before my hearing got really bad) and as a volunteer at the local hospital in their mail room.
I AM… a little person, a loyal friend and loving.
KINDEST THING SOMEONE HAS DONE FOR ME… In my senior year in high school we had a banquet and all the senior guys got on their knees to dance with me. That same year the senior class took a trip to New York City. One teacher said I couldn’t go unless my mom came with us because if my scooter broke down, I would be a liability. My friends found out what this teacher said and they told him that if my scooter broke down they would carry it back to the bus and load it, and would carry me around! He wouldn’t budge and told them I would be a liability. They said “no, you are the liability, not Meredith.” When the senior trip day came, about 50-75 percent of the senior class choose to not go on the class trip as a direct result of what the teacher said.
I like all the feature articles in Hearing Loss Magazine, especially the Seen & Heard profiles of people with hearing loss.