When Juleh Eide was one month old, she was diagnosed with moderate to severe hearing loss in both ears. Her father is deaf and her mother has typical hearing. Some expected that Juleh would be integrated into the Deaf community, learn sign language, and go to a school for the deaf. However, her mother was determined to give Juleh the same educational and social opportunities that she had.
Juleh received her first hearing aids when she was five months old. Her mother loves to recount the moment her hearing aids were turned on. Mrs. Eide remembers, “At once, Juleh’s eyes lit up and she looked at the world around her with a new curiosity.”
The Eide Family learned that, in addition to hearing aids, early intervention was needed to help Juleh develop language and speech skills through listening. At the age of 1, Juleh began to see Star Leonard-Fleckman at Listen and Talk. Star made every moment of their sessions together fun, while teaching Juleh how to speak clearly and listen carefully to her surroundings. By Kindergarten, Juleh was ready to enter her neighborhood school, and with Listen and Talk’s help, made a smooth transition into the mainstream classroom.
Fast forward to today– Juleh is a 20 year old junior at Stanford University and on her way to becoming a global doctor. She wants to use her own miraculous experiences as a guide to give hope back to humankind.
“I do not want to discount the hardships that come with hearing loss, because it can be hard. You ask a lot of questions. You wonder if your voice sounds different to others or if people think you’re weird. You wonder if you are hearing things the same way as other people. You wonder if you’re missing out on any inside jokes. You wonder why you have to explain to people every time what hearing aids are and that you wear them because your ears just… don’t work. You wonder why you were born this way (or why you became deaf). Sure, there are lots of minor irritations in my life and maybe some people just don’t understand, but for every person who didn’t understand, there were at least five people who did, whether they were my closest friends, people at Listen and Talk, my parents, my family, my teachers… And more than just understanding, they were proud of me. Proud of what I’ve done and the person I’ve become!”