Newark Native Fights To Empower Deaf, Hard Of Hearing Students

NEWARK, NJ — If you ask Latisha Porter-Vaughn about her experience with progressive hearing loss – which wasn’t diagnosed until she was a teenager – she’s quick to tell you that it was a journey filled with obstacles. But the Newark native was determined not to let it define who she was.

“Instead, it became a driving force behind my quest to understand and live life with purpose,” she says.

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Porter-Vaughn has been a passionate advocate for people who are deaf or hard of hearing, blazing a trail as the first African-American president of the Hearing Loss Association of America-New Jersey Chapter, and helping to improve education and employment for students as a researcher for the National Deaf Center on Postsecondary Outcomes.

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She has also authored two books in the field: “How We Hear: A Useful Guide for the Hearing to Understand Hearing Loss,” and “A Story of a HearStrong Champion Persisting Against All Odds.” A third book launch is on the horizon for January.

Now, Porter-Vaughn is gearing up to capture yet another career milestone: the annual Oticon Focus on People Awards.

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The national awards program “honors advocates, hearing care professionals and everyday heroes making a real difference for people with hearing loss.” First-place winners will receive a $2,500 cash prize and a $1,000 donation to a charity of their choice.

Porter-Vaughn is one of the finalists up for an award this year in the “Hearing Loss Champion” category. Online voting is open through Dec. 8. Learn more or cast a vote here.

Watch Porter-Vaughn speak about her life experience – and why you should take a moment to vote for her – in the video below.

According to Porter-Vaughn, she hopes the award will give her a larger platform as an advocate to fight for change.

“I’ve encountered challenges and broken through a glass ceiling, but opportunities for advancement for people with hearing loss remain limited,” she urges.

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