Hearing Our Way: Winter 2014

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The magazine for kids and teens with hearing loss

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Contents 4 Things

We Love

Hi from Mel!

6 O vercoming Obstacles

8 Let It Go Or

Let Them Know

10 Fun & Games

Contributors Melanie Paticoff • Editor in Chief Valorie Johnson • Creative Contributor N-KCreative.com • Magazine Design CiCi Gregory • Featured H W Teen With special thanks to H W friends: Alexa, Kevin, KJ, Reagan

www.HearingOurWay.com info@hearingourway.com St. Louis, MO Volume 1, No. 3 ©2014 Sophie’s Tales, LLC. All rights reserved. Hearing Our Way is published quarterly and is a publication of Sophie’s Tales, LLC. Reproduction in whole or in part without written permission is prohibited. Sign up to receive a complimentary subscription for households, offices, and schools at www.HearingOurWay.com. For promotional opportunities, change of address, or other customer service, contact info@hearingourway.com. • All comments and suggestions received by Hearing Our Way become the sole property of Hearing Our Way and may be used without compensation or acknowledgement. Hearing Our Way disclaims liability for any losses or damages that may result from using information in this magazine. • Inquire today about sponsorship and advertising opportunities. Contact Info@HearingOurWay.com.

A Sophie’s Tales™ Publication


Dear Readers,

everyone ng Our Way. Thank you to ari He for s nth mo few t’s been an exciting subscription, and tarter video, sponsored a ks Kic r ou re sha d lpe he o wh scriptions to kids are now providing free sub We ry. sto r ou of rt pa e becam the world! over 30 countries around in s los ng ari he h wit ns tee better and issue, I couldn’t imagine a ter win r ou t ou ab nk thi ed by all ages, When I sat down to n the classic cartoon. It’s lov tha t en fer dif is vie mo is g! Look for theme than Frozen. Th track no one can stop singin nd sou a d an ry, sto g rin we has an inspiring, empo es to our feature mes, contests, and hairstyl ga m fro ge, pa ry eve ost a Frozen twist on alm from St. Louis, article Let It Go on page 8. girl, CiCi, a friend of mine ver co r ou to u yo uce rod nfident dancer I’m thrilled to int from a shy little girl to a co w gro r he tch wa to ng azi Missouri. It’s been am le would never sitive attitude. Some peop po a h wit ays alw ds, od ver once who has defied all the go together, but that has ne bly ssi po uld co er nc da d an out think the words deaf ng Obst acles. Be sure to check mi co er Ov of e on ly tru is ry der! stopped CiCi. Her sto ndations—she’s an avid rea me om rec ok bo r he y all eci be? Elsa left all of CiCi’s Faves, esp 2015? Who do you want to in be on uti sol Re r’s Yea w e self, but What will your Ne where she could be her tru rld wo n ow r he ate cre to e you, you her home in Arendell Your inner strength is inside . ng alo all re the s wa a Els really, I bet the real do if you set the real you. What can you be to aid afr be t no d an just have to let it go your fears? your mind to it and let go of


u in 2015 ! Happy Holidays and see yo

ief Mel Paticoff, Editor in Ch and maltipoo, Sophie

bols Look for these sym agazine throughout the m for special tips ! Hearing – Info about hearing aids, cochlear implants, and listening devices Talking – Tips for speech and language Self-Advocacy – Ideas for sharing your hearing loss story with others


Enjoy talking on the phone – confident that you’ll catch every word! CapTel® shows you captions of everything they say. It’s like captions on TV – for the phone!


Apps available for your smartphone!

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ve Look We nLd Kevin know how to rock their

Siblings Alexa a s buddies Olaf a h in v e K ! s k o lo a Frozen-themed plant, and Alex im r a le h c o c is and Sven on h n each ear ! o a n n A d n a a ls E has princesses ing twisted z a m a d n a s I’ C d-out With her blinge r the ball ! fo y d a re s ’ e h s e k bun, she looks li

rine Aquarium Clearwater Ma

ve Movie WeinteLr… meet Winter, the dolphin who stars


hes us Speaking of w Tale 2. Winter teac n hi p ol D m fil g in ir in the insp acles, too. After an st ob e m co er ov n ca ve that animals d some people belie an il, ta r he s se lo r ws accident, Winte prosthetic tail allo w ne a t bu n, ai ag g she may never swim chnology like hearin te w ho g in az am s ’ ing. It it can help animals her to keep swimm d an , ar he us lp he plants y in aids and cochlear im ter’s inspiring stor in W ee S ! o to , es ti overcome disabili soon. theaters or on DVD

inspirati n Stati n

“ The truest form of braver y and courage is to wake up ever y single day and to be ourselves.” —Shailene Woodley

W rds, W rds, W rds Break the Ice

Meet KJ and Reagan, siblings who never let hearing loss get in the way of fun! KJ, 11, does not have hearing loss, and Reagan, 9, uses one cochlear implant and one hearing aid to hear.

Sibling sp t

Reagan: KJ is a nice big brother. He is very funny, I love him, and we like to play together. (Sometimes he’s annoying, though!) He helps me by always checking to make sure I’ve taken my “ears” off before I jump in the pool. KJ: Reagan and I are really close friends and love doing things together. I feel protective of her and help by repeating things when she doesn’t hear. She is really good at sports, so I hope she can be a professional soccer or basketball player one day. Both: We like to learn song lyrics together. Recently a new song came out on the radio. Reagan thought the words were, “I’m not a gaga lace, no trouble,” but KJ helped her realize the words are actually, “I’m all about that bass, no treble.” :-) One Last Word from KJ: I’m proud of Reagan. I think her “ears” are cool. It would be so nice to be able to ‘turn off my ears’ at the end of the day!

Hearing loss is part of the whole family. Share your story with info@hearingourway.com

Language can be tricky, especially idioms, which mean something different than what they say. You might hear the idiom break the ice and think it has to do with winter or even ice skating… nope! Break the ice has nothing to do with the cold; it has to do with finding a way to get past being nervous about a situation. An example is: “I was nervous about meeting new people, so I decided to ask them who their favorite characters from Frozen were as a good conversation starter and a way to break the ice.” Psst… Have you ever had to play an icebreaker game on the first day of school or camp? This is how that kind of introductory game got its name!


ng vercomi


f Stories o Inspiring You ! e ik L s Teen d n a s id K

H W does CiCi hear? With a bounce in her step, tap shoes on her feet, and… a hearing aid and cochlear implant!

All About Me

Hi, I’m CiCi. I’m 12-years-old and a 6th grader from Florissant, Missouri. I am a creative, caring, and happy person, and I love to express myself through dance!

CiCi’s Faves! H BOOKS

The Skin I’m In The Romeo and Juliet Code Deep Down Popular


Dance Moms Project Runway Bring It!


Maleficent Princess and the Frog Frozen


Jambalaya French fries St. Louis’ famous Ted Drewes ice cream


My Hearing Loss Story

I was born 3 months early at only 1 pound, 11 ounces and needed strong medications and noisy machines that helped save my life. My parents began to suspect that I might not be hearing when I was 12-months-old, but it wasn’t until I was almost 2-years-old that I was diagnosed with a progressive hearing loss. I began wearing hearing aids and learned to listen and speak at the Moog Center for Deaf Education in St. Louis, Missouri. When I was 5, my hearing loss was profound in one ear, and I received a cochlear implant. I have been mainstreamed since 2nd grade and use an FM system in school and at dance class. I love being bimodal because my hearing aid gives me great acoustic sound that I use to dance, but one day I may go bilateral!

two students with hearing loss in the entire school. Now I attend a large middle school where there are three other students with hearing loss in my grade alone. We can share an FM system, troubleshoot* technology, and go to each other for support. It’s the best of both worlds to have other kids with hearing loss who understand and can relate but also still have my friends at school who do not have hearing loss.

Overcoming Obstacles

Life with hearing loss has its typical challenges, such as hearing in noisy environments or missing homework assignments when the teacher doesn’t write them down. Being a dancer with hearing loss has itsown set of challenges. Learning to count in time to the music is something that I’m still working on. I’ve also found that it takes extra time

School Cool

I have had smooth transitions from my school for the deaf to elementary school and from elementary to middle school. When I was at Moog, I was surrounded by other kids with hearing loss and lots of support. In elementary school, I was one of only



Katy Perry Ariana Grande Coco Jones


Share your story of Overcoming Obstacles! E-mail: info@hearingourway.com

to learn the vocabulary of dance, mainly because I don’t know the meaning or spelling of many French words used in ballet. Just like when I’m in school, in dance class I need to be in the front of the room, ask for repetition, clarify when I’m confused, and practice at home. Accommodations and self-advocacy don’t end in the classroom!

really opened my eyes to the entertainment industry—we filmed about 48 hours for only 7 minutes of total air time! Next, I was honored to be selected to train at the Dance Theatre of Harlem in New York. Saying goodbye to my parents and being dropped off in a big city was scary at first, but it was an amazing summer where I learned so much, and I can’t wait to go back to New York someday!

Advocacy All the Way

Working with teachers of the deaf has always been a part of my education. My itinerant teacher helps me with organization, vocabulary, assignments, and preparing for tests. We also work on my speech so that I can continue to improve my skills and gain confidence. It’s a safe place to check in with someone who is honest and helpful. I like to ask questions like, “How do I pronounce this?” and “Does this sound right?” to help stay aware of my own speech by getting feedback from someone I trust. Another important piece of my education is my FM system which I use both in school and at dance. I know that some kids stop using their FMs when they get older, but I always plan to use mine. I love when it turns on and ‘zooms in’ to pick up voices so clearly; I think it will be great preparation for bigger classes in college. [CiCi’s Tip: Teachers, please mute my FM if you need to step out of the room. Subs, I’m talking to you! ]

Getting Creative

This past year, my audiologists helped me to remember that there is always a solution to any problem when you get creative and work together. At an audiology appointment, I mentioned that I was having trouble hearing the sound of my tap shoes because my devices were picking up the sound of everyone else’s tapping. My audiologists helped me brainstorm a solution: we could attach a wireless microphone that works with my FM directly to my tap shoe! Now I’m able to hear my own tapping, and I’m able to attach the mic to my teacher’s shoe as well. Tap class is a lot better now, and I was reminded to always ask for help!

* Troubleshoot: Trytofixa[noften technological] problemindifferent waysuntil youfindasolution.

Role Model CiCi uses her audio cable to listen to her music!

Hearing Gear

I am obsessed with my favorite piece of hearing gear. My audio cable, which connects my iPod directly to my cochlear implant, is the greatest thing in the world to have. I love listening to music and watching music videos with it. I’m constantly plugged in, which drives my mom crazy, but of course as a dancer I love music! My only hope is that one day there’s a solution for listening directly from my iPod to both my cochlear implant and my hearing aid.

My role model is Misty Copeland, a ballet dancer who never let being different stop her. She was recently featured in a viral commercial inspiring young girls to be confident. People didn’t think she had the right body type or skin color for ballet, but she kept moving forward and didn’t give up. Now she tells other young people they can do anything they set their mind to. I loved meeting her last summer in New York, and one day I’d love to share her message, too.


I’ve had some #hearinglossmoments not just in dance class or rehearsals, but during performances and talent shows! Even though I use special hair tape and clips to keep my devices on when I dance, there are still times when I do a turn and my cochlear implant flies off! I quietly go off stage, circle back, and gracefully pick up my device as if it’s all part of the dance, always with a smile on my face. It challenges me to be creative and #justkeepdancing!

Five Minutes of Fame… and a New York Minute!

This past summer was definitely one to remember! First, I had the opportunity to share my story on Nick News with Linda Ellerbee: Now Hear This! What If You Were Deaf? It was so exciting to raise awareness about what it’s like to be deaf and use cochlear implants and hearing aids to listen and speak. I was filmed at my house with friends and family, then at my dance studio. It

CiCi with her role model, Misty Copeland !

When I Grow Up

When I grow up, I want to be a famous professional dancer who just happens to be deaf. I want to inspire kids who are deaf, who have disabilities, and also those who don’t, to follow their dreams. I think that everyone has challenges along the way to success, but there’s always a way to reach your goals and always someone to ask for help. My advice to other kids facing challenges is to find support, be confident, be bold, be the best you can be. No one is perfect, so just be yourself!


I u o y Didnow? k

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t e l r o go

n Frozen, Elsa has special powers that make her very unique, but she feels like she has to hold her feelings inside and is scared to talk to others, even her sister Anna. It’s not until she learns to let those fears go and be herself that she is happy in her own skin.

When you grow up with a hearing loss, it is important to be a good self-advocate and stand up for yourself. There will be times when it’s necessary to speak up, but there may be other times when you may be happier letting things slide and not holding onto anger. Tell us about a time you decided to let it go or let them know… info@hearingourway.com!

Nevermind “Nevermind.” “Forget it.” “Nothing.” These can be some of the most frustrating phrases to hear when you have hearing loss and ask someone to repeat what they said. There will be times in conversation when it’s okay for someone to say “nevermind.” Maybe what they said really just isn’t that important or worth repeating all over again. Try asking yourself, ‘Does this person usually repeat when I ask them to? Can I trust that if they are saying nevermind, it really must not be important?’ If the answer is yes, let it go. However, if you know someone who refuses to repeat when you ask them to and continues to brush you off, it’s time to speak up and let them know. “I know you might think what you said doesn’t matter anymore, but I think you’re really funny, and it’s important to me to hear what all of my friends are saying. I really appreciate it when you repeat what you said when I ask.”

on the idea ut her own spin p t if w S r o yl Ta ke It Off. h her song, Sha of Let It Go wit y mind this music in m “It’s like I got .’ ” nna be alright saying, ‘It’s go

Raise Your Hand During school, it’s hard work to listen to every word your teachers say throughout the day. Accommodations like FM systems, preferential seating, and captioning can help, but sometimes things are still missed. Should you raise your hand every time you have a question or are there times to let it slide? Students with hearing loss need to be such strong self-advocates that you may feel pressure to never miss a word, but it’s likely every student, even those who don’t have hearing loss, miss something here or there. There will be times when it may not seem right to interrupt the lesson. If you know you missed something, should you let it go? Maybe for the moment. If you don’t want to interrupt, you can ask a friend, consult notes if you receive them, or ask the teacher after class. During class, if you are confused, missed something that was said, or need to clarify, it might be time to say something. Oftentimes if you have a question about the lesson, it’s very likely that another classmate is wondering the same thing. In this case, raise your hand and let them know. There is no such thing as a stupid question—you’re in school to learn!


Meet B ry n !

w o n k m e th

My Dream Career

I want to be an audiologist so that I can help people with hearing loss like myself get diagnosed and appropriately fit with hearing devices.

H W I Hear

I have mild sloping to profound hearing loss bilaterally and wear behind-the-ear hearing aids.

Laugh It Off “What are you, deaf?” We’ve all heard the jokes. It never feels good to be made fun of or mocked, but with people you trust, a sense of humor can be one of the best tools for growing up with hearing loss. So when do you laugh along and when do jokes cross a line?

Tips & Tricks

When you’re in a group of friends and family that love you and accept your hearing loss, there are times when jokes might be totally appropriate. The first time you hear one, you may be taken aback, but instead of being offended, try to let it go because it’s likely they have your best interests at heart. In fact, have you ever tried to use humor yourself? Show them you’re okay with the joke by jumping in with one of your own, like “Sorry, what’d you say?” or “#HearingLossMoment !”

Ü T urn on subtitles and captioning when watching TV and videos.

Sometimes, jokes about hearing loss can be just plain mean, especially when said by someone who isn’t a true friend. When a joke is said in a hurtful way or just crosses a line, it’s time to let them know. “It’s not okay to make fun of my hearing loss. It hurts my feelings, and I don’t find it funny.”

Have you ever seen another person be bullied right in front of you? When you see this, you are a bystander, and you may feel like you should do something to help. Have you ever wanted to say something but worried about being considered a tattle-tale? If you see someone being bullied, it may not always be the right time to speak up. Do you feel so angry that you might say something you regret? Do you feel like you could be at risk of being hurt in this situation? The best thing to do may be to let it go and not make anything worse. There’s still something you can do though—reach out to the person being bullied and let them know you are there for them.

Whether you decide to let things go or let them know, you can always talk to friends, family, and teachers that you trust for support!

Ü D on’t be afraid to discuss hearing challenges, talk to others about your hearing loss, and advocate for yourself to improve communication.

Audiology fun fact

Standing By

There are bullying situations when as a bystander you must let them know. If you feel that you can help by calmly talking to the bully, try saying something like, “Please stop. That is bullying, and it is not funny.” You can also always tell an adult you trust. It’s important to let someone know—if you just let it go, bullying will continue to happen again and again.

Ü Try out your telecoil program—I find that it really helps amplify sound!

Did you know that the size of your cochlea is the same size as a pencil eraser, but it has more than 20,000 hairs?!

I would tell young Bryn... You are in charge of your goals, dreams, and abilities. Challenge yourself. Don’t accept anything less than excellence in your life.

Learning to Let It Go A few years ago, I had a professor

question whether I could pursue audiology because of my hearing loss. It caused me to doubt my entire future, until I let what he said go and focused on what I always knew was true: that I had the strength, drive, and intelligence to do anything I set my mind to !

Interested in learning more about Bryn’s graduate program in audiology?

Visit pacs.wustl.edu


& n u f es Frozen Frazes gam

Can you match the missing word with the famous line from Frozen?



1. Some people are worth __________ for. 2. It doesn’t have to be a __________. 3. I’m Olaf, and I like __________ hugs! 4. The cold never __________ me anyway. 5. For the first time in __________. 6. I’ve started talking to the __________on the walls. 7. I wanna stuff some __________ in my face. 8. Don’t let the __________ bite. 9. When I finally do what frozen things do in __________. 10. Only an act of __________ love can thaw a frozen heart.




Try This

without being Be frozen ! Stay warm with this Olaf -inspired DIY hat. All you need is a white hat, black, white, and orange felt, a black marker, brown pipe cleaner, and glue. Get ready to melt some hearts with this adorable look.







Frozen: Do You Wanna Write A Story?


true pictures forever summer snowman melting frostbite warm bothered chocolate

When Anna and Elsa are little girls, Elsa accidentally hurts Anna with her magic. She hits her head, but the trolls are able to heal her, and Anna is left with a white streak in her hair. Now, imagine if the story was different: What if Elsa accidentally hurt Anna’s ear, giving her hearing loss? Send in your story of Frozen with a hearing loss spin to info@hearingourway.com, c ntest and it could be featured corner in Hearing Our Way !

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Alarm Clock with Vibrating Wristband The Vibe is less than 3� big but has huge features for such a small alarm clock! The wireless wristband vibrates when your alarm goes off, gently waking you up but not your roommate! Perfect for siblings who share a room or in a dorm room where everyone has a different schedule.

Request a FREE Catalog www.harriscomm.com (800) 825-6758

Let Sophie help you share your hearing loss and cochlear implant story! available at:


The Award Winning Series About Hearing Loss and Cochlear Implants


4818 Washington Ave. St. Louis, MO 63108 TIME VALUE • Address Service Requested

write T

us !

Thanks to Ryland for writil,ng to us about his role mode Demi Lovato. We were so excited to see his dreams come true when he met her.

Show Us Hearing YOUR Way! Kids and Teens sent in pictures with their magazines from the United States, Canada, and Australia… Now it’s your turn!

Connect with Us and Get Ready for 2015! F Like our Facebook page for all of the things we love T Follow us on Twitter for inspiration and the latest news g, t, writin Send in your ar otos to ph poetry or om

gour way.c info@hearin issue .

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