News Center Maine profiles student on mission to research deafness, help others

News Center Maine profiled Jessica Hayden, a microbiology student at the University of Maine who was born deaf and is on a mission to research the condition and help others like her. There were no hearing screenings available when Hayden was born 19 years ago, and her parents learned she was deaf when she was 1 year old. They communicated with her in American Sign Language until she had cochlear implants inserted at ages 2 and 7, according to News Center Maine. “You don’t know how to interpret the different feedback signals that you’re receiving, so that’s when I had years of speech therapy to understand and be able to interpret those sounds that I’m hearing,” said Hayden, whose goal is to research the genetic mutation that caused her deafness. “She has this huge capacity to not only tolerate challenges but thrive in the face of a challenge,” said Sally Molloy, an assistant professor of genomics at UMaine. This year, Hayden received the Graham Clark Scholarship through the company that makes her implants, News Center Maine reported. “You won’t find the cure to something overnight, but if you work long enough and work hard enough, something is definitely possible,” Hayden said.