A meteorologist has received an outpouring of support after posting to social media about her use of hearing aids.
Meaghan Thomas, 31, a meteorologist for Nashville, Tennessee, ABC affiliate WKRN, decided to reintroduce herself after receiving a new batch of followers on social media. She posted about things she likes to do, like listening to country music and playing with her dog, and about her use of hearing aids.
The post has received thousands of likes and shares on Facebook and Twitter. The comments are full of people thanking Thomas for sharing her story, as well as saying how it has inspired them and their loved ones to embrace their insecurities.
"I was so shocked," Thomas told "Good Morning America" of her reaction to the post going viral. "It's been nothing short of amazing; the photos and the messages that I have received from parents have brought me to tears."
The reaction to the post has also helped Thomas.
"I'm feeling more confident in who I am and this part of me that I had hidden for so long," she said.
Thomas has dealt with hearing loss since birth, having inherited it from her father's side of the family, and is 70% deaf in her left ear and 30% to 40% deaf in her right ear. According to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, 2 to 3 out of every 1,000 kids in the United States is born with detectable hearing loss in one or both ears.
It was something she didn't make known to people outside of her family and close friends out of fear of being treated differently. But what was once a source of insecurity and doubt is now something she's decided to embrace.
"I told myself this was going to be my year. I'm going to be bold in everything that I do," she said. "I like to give myself a word at the beginning of the year -- this year was 'bold.'"
Thomas is determined to keep encouraging others, and has written a children's book about why something that makes us different also makes us special.
"I would tell somebody who was struggling with hearing to just embrace it, because at the end of the day you're fearfully, wonderfully and beautifully made," she said. "And you were made this way for a reason. So now use it for good."