Stories that Inspire – Teri Wathen
Teri Wathen is one of Walk4Hearing’s long-time participants wearing bilateral cochlear implants. She has volunteered for each Houston Walk since 2006 – when the Walk began. In those 18 years, Teri and her team, Wathen Walkers, raised nearly $45,000 supporting HLAA and her local HLAA Houston Chapter.
Teri’s mild hearing loss was diagnosed when she was three years old; however, she did not receive her first set of hearing aids until she was twelve when her hearing got progressively worse. She hid her hearing aids with her long hair. She was uncomfortable displaying her devices until she joined and met members of the HLAA Houston Chapter, who helped raise her confidence.
Hearing loss appears to be genetic in her family. Her son, Daniel, was diagnosed at birth but did not receive his hearing aids until he was three years old. Today, he has a cochlear implant. Another son, Blake, was born with moderate hearing loss and received his hearing aids when he was nearly two years old. Ray, her husband, is an army veteran who’s hearing progressively got worse due to exposure to loud noise while serving in the army. He now wears hearing aids.
Teri’s involvement with the Houston Walk was motivated by her desire to raise awareness about hearing loss and its impact, as well as to highlight how proper testing and intervention improves quality of life. She also brought awareness to newborn hearing screenings since her sons were not screened at birth. Educating parents about catching hearing loss early for appropriate developmental growth. “When I see new and returning participants each year, I see big smiles and individuals gaining confidence when they realize there is a community for them” says Teri.