LAKE OSWEGO, Ore. -- A Lake Oswego teen has overcome hearing loss and vertigo to become a state vocal champion.
Ally Starke is a junior at Lake Oswego High School who has Meniere’s Disease.
“It’s an autoimmune disorder, triggered by allergies and it caused Ally to lose more than 50 percent of her hearing in one ear,” her mother, Mary, said.
Not only does Ally sing without full hearing, she also has to deal with a constant ringing in her ears or 'tinnitus.'
“It’s almost like a high-pitched car alarm. It never goes away. It’s there when I’m talking, singing and reading,” Ally said.
In early May, Ally heard the ringing but also the sound of success when she was announced as the winner in the Mezzo Soprano division of the state competition.
“They started with the fifth place winner, 4th, 3rd then 2nd , and I thought, 'Better luck next year,'” she said.
She did eventually hear her name at number one, and the celebration began.
“We were all crying,” said Mary. “Ally’s dad and I had competed at the same competition when we were in high school but never won, so this was extra exciting.”
“Winning this made me realize I’m pretty good at singing,” Ally said, “which is good, because I tried sports and that didn’t work out so well and I have plenty of time for music.”