Introducing soccer player and bilateral CI user Lara Walzer

Lara Walzer – a recent high school graduate and remarkable young personality. She goes through life with passion and determination and is not only an enthusiastic soccer player, but also a proud cochlear implant user – because Lara has been deaf since birth.

Birgitt Valenta

Lara Walzer was fitted with cochlear implants on both sides at the tender age of just nine months. The advantage of this early fitting combined with the optimal support of her environment have made her what she is: a self-confident, radiant young woman who knows exactly what she wants.

Lara currently wants to play soccer and is doing so; not just with her dad, brother or friends, but as a midfielder and striker for USV Neulengbach, one of the Lower Austrian clubs in the ÖFB Women's Bundesliga.

The big soccer dream

Soccer player and CI user Lara Walzer in action. ©private

Grandpa, dad and brother passed on their passion for soccer to her. She realized early on that her two cochlear implants would not stop her from playing her favourite sport and pursuing her dreams.

Lara has excellent hearing thanks to her CIs, so she hardly has any hearing problems in everyday life or on the soccer pitch. And that is particularly important in team sports. Communication between the players to plan strategies, act tactically and support each other is essential for the game. Reacting quickly to the coach's instructions also promotes effective teamwork. Last but not least, it is essential to be able to listen to warning signals and instructions in order to avoid injuries and dangerous situations.
The bilateral fitting gives Lara additional significant advantages here. The simultaneous stimulation of both ears enables improved directional hearing, which is particularly important outdoors, on the soccer pitch, where the precise localization of noises, voices and the perception of the surroundings are crucial to the game.

Safe on the pitch

In addition to reacting to acoustic instructions or warning signals in good time, Lara makes sure that the audio processors of her CIs on the pitch always stay in place or are not damaged in the heat of battle. She wears a headband for this purpose, which she has gotten used to over time. In the winter, this is actually quite comfortable, but in the summer, when the heat builds up underneath it, it can be a little uncomfortable.
Lara generally tries to reduce headballs or other heavy contact in the head area in order to protect her implants. Even though they were firmly anchored to the skull bone during the operation and are located under the protective scalp, there is a small residual risk of shocks, which must be avoided as much as possible.

"Value your hearing, it's much nicer to live this way!"

Lara Walzer

All-round support

Lara, with her high school diploma and proud parents ©privat

In addition to her parents, who reacted quickly after Lara was diagnosed with deafness by having her fitted with CIs as early as possible, her surgeon, Prof. Dr. Wolf-Dieter Baumgartner, has always played an important role in her life. She is still in contact with the ENT expert who gave her hearing back then. Baumgartner feels a close bond with his patients and has also followed Lara's sporting career. He regularly congratulates the young footballer on her successes.

Lara, who was always the only one of her classmates without normal hearing, completed school with flying colors. She owes this not only to her intelligence and her well-developed hearing, but also to the support of everyone involved in the school environment and the encouragement she received at home.

Now, after graduating from high school, Lara is not only thinking about her active soccer career, but also about studying economics. As she was able to learn several languages at school, she would also like to travel the world and get to know other cultures.

The key to success

Lara has been shining her whole life. ©private

Lara's cochlear implants, which she received when she was nine months old, were a turning point in her life. They not only enabled her to discover the world of sound, but also to pursue her passion for soccer to the fullest. The cheering of the fans in the stadium is an additional enjoyable, motivating and therefore indispensable sensory experience that Lara would not want to live without. Thanks to her cochlear implants, Laura is in contact with her environment - with family, friends, teammates and, of course, her fans.
Lara Walzer is therefore not only in the spotlight for us as a soccer player, but also as an example of an optimal way of life with cochlear implants, especially when they are implanted early and on both sides. Her life is an inspiring testimony to the extent to which modern medical technology can improve the quality of life of people born deaf.

You can hear and see the incredibly likeable, radiant footballer and CI user Lara Walzer in the latest audio interview in the video podcast series HÖRGESPRÄCHE - Sinnvolles aus dem Leben on

Lara Walzer in an interview for the video podcast series HÖRGESPRÄCHE - Sinnvolles aus dem Leben. ©Philipp Hicker