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Tampa teen aims to improve hearing aids and you can help

Madison Wall started losing her hearing in 6th grade. She’s now launched a massive research project to help others.

TAMPA, Fla. — A Tampa high school student is working to make hearing aids better.  At just 16 years old, Madison Wall started a huge research project for her AP Capstone Exam in school.

She hopes the results will go beyond school, grades and college credit and ultimately help those who are deaf and hard of hearing find the right aids for them.

Madison created a survey and a video to help with her research which focuses specifically on adults in the Tampa Bay area.

“Hi, my name is Madison and I’m a high school junior,” she says to start the video. She goes on to explain her project and how you can help.

“I’m doing it on the various types of hearing aids and what different hearing aid users think about why they continue using them or why they stopped using the hearing aids.

“Tampa Bay is estimated to be the third or fifth largest deaf and hard of hearing community. So we are really, really big hub for this study,” she continued.

According to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, an estimated 48 million Americans have hearing loss and roughly 28.8 million could benefit from using hearing aids.

“Ideally, my research can help to better hearing aids to better understand the consumers and what they want out of hearing so that more people can ideally use hearing aids if they want them,” she said.

Madison understands it’s a choice to use hearing aids and also understands how difficult it can be to find the perfect fit.

“I have sensorineural hearing loss, which means it's a loss of nerve and so I started losing my hearing in sixth grade, but it's stabilized,” she said.

Along with her grandmother, Madison began a hearing aid journey last year.

“I started trying different hearing aids. There are a large variety of different hearing aids are like six different styles, and different things that work for you. I've seen the best and worst factors of different hearing aids,” she said.

The trials and errors helped her realize there was room for improvement in our own community and so she turned that personal experience into action.

She’s asking adults in the Tampa Bay area who have prior or current hearing aid use to take three minutes to share their experiences with her in an online survey.

She says she’s already received about 100 responses, but the more data she has the better her analysis will be.

“I need more responses for like this one (question) to better understand my survey,” she said explaining how it works.

Madison says the end goal is to help those like her and her grandmother have access to better hearing aids, which can be life-changing.

“A lot of people don't realize that their hearing aids aren’t perfect.”