Young Adult Spotlight: Andrew Tjia


As a hard of hearing individual, I think one of the most important factors that has helped me live successfully with my hearing loss is to have grown up alongside superb role models and advocates for the deaf and hard of hearing.  Living with a asymmetric severe/profound hearing loss has not always easy though.  I wore hearing aids growing up, and often used assistive devices like FM systems at school.  Nowadays at work, I’m fortunate that modern offices have largely moved off communication mediums like telephones, and are all online via email and chat!  I communicate orally exclusively, but am trying to teach myself sign language for fun!

I’ve always been interested in computers and technology.  That hobby eventually led to a university degree, and now, is the foundation of my job as a computer programmer.  Writing software is an empowering skill – with the right mix of ideas and implementation, we can have enormous impact and reach to people all over the world.  Perhaps hand in hand, I’ve also recently become interested in learning more human languages.  I desperately wish I were better at it, but even knowing the basics has helped me learn more about other cultures, and has been very self fulfilling for me.

I feel confident in saying that the most important thing is to be a stubborn self advocate for yourself.  Hearing loss is invisible.  It’s hard for others sometimes to know what you understand or don’t understand, so it’s absolutely necessary for you to tell others when they need to repeat themselves, or how they can accommodate you best by using assistive devices or other strategies.  It can be tiring to have to constantly speak up, but it is worth it.  In the end, if you can rely on one thing being always true, it is that everybody wants to be heard 🙂