Athletes are often incredibly successful, well-known and hardworking – and many of them have some level of hearing loss.
Here are just a few world-renowned athletes who have successfully overcome their hearing difficulties and engaged in successful and rewarding careers in sports.
In the lead up to the London 2012 Olympic Games, David Smith was training hard with his teammates for the US Volleyball squad.
Smith has worn hearing instruments since he was three years old to help him deal with profound (80-90 per cent) hearing loss1. Since volleyball doesn't allow for much face-to-face communication, his coach John Speraw came up with something called the 'David Smith rule'. This means that if Smith wants the play, he goes ahead and takes it – since the coaches and teammates are often too far away to call him off1.
This star volleyball player says he used to struggle with hearing aids when he was sweating a lot, but prior to the Olympics he was fitted with a new pair that could handle his active conditions.
Deaf since birth, Louis Long (more often known simply as The Silent Warrior) is a world-class wrestler and advocate for those with hearing loss around the world.
In an interview with American sports magazine Slam, The Silent Warrior talked about how his deafness impacts his sport.
"I never see myself as disabled because I can do anything, except I can't hear. I don't need ears to wrestle," he explained*.
Long is also the founder of the Deaf Wrestler Alliance, a group for hearing-impaired wrestlers from all around the world who look to each other for support, ideas, and the next challenge.
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*Robert Traynor Hard of Hearing Athletes of the 2012 Olympics – True Champions! Accessed November 12 2014. Can be accessed here.
*Caleb Smith Being deaf doesn't stop The Silent Warrior. Accessed November 12 2014. Can be accessed here.