Meet Lauren Harris and read her story about functioning every day with the help of a Canine Companion.
I’m Lauren Harris, and I was born profoundly deaf and utilize bilateral Cochlear Implants from Cochlear Americas. Growing I was never one to let my hearing loss limit my lifestyle and was extremely active in sports and academics. It wasn’t until college that I really discovered that I can really make an impact and pursue my heart of helping others with hearing loss through Audiology. That I can show others that their hearing loss does not and will not define them. I have always lived by the motto of “Deaf is Beautiful and that there is nothing that will ever limit you.” Because my hearing loss truly is a gift that allows for me to be able to connect with patients on a different level which has a special place in my heart. If I did not have my hearing loss I would not be where I am today and would not have had the incredible opportunities that have come along with it. Such as pursuing my Doctorate of Audiology, meeting great teams of audiologists around the area, and my hearing service dog, Elroy.
Elroy is my hearing service dog from Canine Companions for Independence, whom I have had for the last two years. He has helped me overcome so many little obstacles that those of us with hearing loss tackle every day. Many obstacles that I, and others with hearing loss, face are waking up to alarms in the morning, simple sounds like timers, localizing sounds, sirens, and even hearing our name being called can prove to be more difficult than anticipated. My service dog allows me to feel comfortable without my implants on at home and even more confident out in public with my cochlear implants on. He alerts me to sounds that I either cannot hear or have difficulty hearing such as door-knocking, keys dropping, emergency sirens, smoke alarms, timers, doorbells, my name being called, and much more! For example, some feedback on hearing aids I have trouble hearing. He will alert me to the feedback along with showing me where it is coming from. Not only does he help me in the clinic, but he also helps even when he is not physically alerting me by localizing sounds that occur in the environment around me. Essentially, he is my extra set of ears and partner in crime to make sure that I am able to have full access to my surroundings wherever I go!