NASHVILLE, Tenn. (NewsNation Now/WKRN) – Hearing loss affects around 48 million people in the United States. It can occur at birth or develop at any age.

WKRN News 2’s Meaghan Thomas has dealt with hearing loss her whole life, relying on the use of hearing aids. Earlier this month, Thomas decided to share her story in a post on her Facebook page. “I just decided…this is a part of me, I want to embrace it because it makes me special,” Thomas told NewsNation.

Her message – to embrace and celebrate what makes you different. “I know that there are going to be other people out there who are dealing with the same potential insecurity and the same disability. And it just makes you special, it makes you unique.”

Thomas spoke of the overwhelming reaction and attention the post has gained, “It almost brought me to tears, probably more times than not, when I was reading some of the comments from parents.”

According to the National Institute of Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD), around 2 to 3 out of every 1,000 children in the United States are born with a detectable level of hearing loss in one or both ears.

“I wanted people to realize that you are beautifully and wonderfully made, no matter your differences, and being unique is something special. And I think it needs to resonate with the children who were being shown that post because I was one of those kids who was so hard of hearing and relied on reading lips. And I wanted people to realize that you’re not alone.”

Thomas is thankful for the response her post has generated and getting to know others impacted, “the hearing-impaired community, along with the deaf community, is near and dear to my heart and I hope we continue to promote and bring awareness.”