by Alex Boesch, Student Public Relations Writer
Being born without hearing can change someone’s life forever. Through prayer, resilience and multiple surgeries, one Cedarville University student hasn’t let her condition stop her from enjoying life and thriving in college.
Sophomore nursing major Masen Krampe from Grand Rapids, Michigan, was born with Connexin 26, a genetic condition making her fully deaf. Krampe is missing the approximately 60,000 hairs inside a hearing person’s ear that are used to transmit sound from the eardrum to the auditory nerve.
“I was the first deaf person in my family for over five generations,” said Krampe. “It was dormant for a long time and ended up surfacing with me.”
When Krampe was 13 months old, she had cochlear implant surgery on her right ear. The implant uses electrodes to replace the missing hairs and facilitate hearing. At 6 years old, the implant failed and had to be replaced through additional surgery.
Cedarville’s academic enrichment center, The COVE, helped Krampe receive edited transcriptions from her classes to use as notes during her freshman year.
“One of my biggest prayer requests is that I really wanted the people I came to for academic accommodations to be people I could access and talk with,” said Krampe. “At other schools, I felt like I was a problem others needed to deal with, but at Cedarville, The COVE staff led the accommodation discussions and made me feel heard and cared for.”
"Masen has courageously overcome challenges to be a student,” said Amy Frey, associate disability compliance coordinator at Cedarville. “She approaches all she does with a strong spirit of joy and perseverance. Masen is an inspiration."
For years, Krampe struggled with directional sound due to only having one implant and decided to pursue getting an implant in her left ear as well.
“My doctor warned me that the second implant might not work since I was past the age of 5,” said Krampe. “God decided to prove him wrong. By 17, I ended up with 70% speech recognition in the ear that he said I would have none. That was all God.”
At age 11, a bacterial infection developed in her right ear, requiring her to stop using the implants for six months.
“Even in that trial, God healed me,” mentioned Krampe. “God healed me without even needing surgery. My doctor had only had two patients fully heal while exclusively on medication, making my case unique.”
During her senior year of high school, Krampe struggled with her implants again. Krampe began having neuropathy pain, an extremely painful result of nerves under the skin getting rubbed raw from the device.
“For the other problems, there were less invasive medical interventions,” said Krampe. “There were none for this outside of surgery.”
Krampe was forced to surgically take her implants out and let herself heal before putting them back in. She went from 98% speech recognition to just 25%.
“I couldn’t hear a thing,” Krampe added. “It was lonely not being able to talk to people. I clung to knowing that God is with me always. I talked to God when I couldn’t talk to people.”
For six months, Krampe lived without her implants. Her pursuit of the Lord was rewarded when she still managed to graduate cume laude from high school and gain her hearing back before graduation.
Even through Krampe is still dealing with problems, such as another surgery for a faulty implant this past summer, she has remained faithful to God and is able to be successful in college no matter the challenge.
Located in southwest Ohio, Cedarville University is an accredited, Christ-centered, Baptist institution with an enrollment of 5,082 undergraduate, graduate, and dual enrolled high school students in more than 175 areas of study. Founded in 1887, Cedarville is one of the largest private universities in Ohio, recognized nationally for its authentic Christian community, rigorous academic programs, such as the Bachelor of Science in nursing, high graduation and retention rates, accredited professional and health science offerings, and the #4 national ranking by the Wall Street Journal for student engagement. For more information about the University, visit cedarville.edu.