Hearing Our Way: Spring 2021

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The magazine for kids and teens with hearing loss -care Spring 2021 Self

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Contents 4 Things

Hi from Mel!

We Love

6 O vercoming Obstacles

10 Fun & Games 12 Sophie’s


Contributors Melanie Paticoff Grossman • Editor in Chief Magazine Design • N-KCreative.com Overcoming Obstacles • Azalea Mark it with an E • Evelyn Books We Love • Eva With special thanks to all of our featured H W friends

www.HearingOurWay.com info@hearingourway.com PO Box 13, Greenlawn, New York 11740 Volume 8, No. 1 ©2021 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. See p.11 for more information about subscriptions for homes, schools, and offices or visit 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 acknowledgment. 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.


Dear Readers,

nt to jump a nice holiday season. I wa d ha d an hy alt he d an e saf comI hope everyone is staying , because her story in Over a* ale Az d, -ki ver co e ibl red inc ar-old right into introducing our ing 2021. Azalea is an 11-ye Spr are f-C Sel , me the r ou ed en I read ing Obst acles is what inspir ia when she was a baby. Wh iop Eth m fro ted op ad s wa spoke girl with hearing aids who . I especially liked how she rit spi ng azi am r he by ed . During her story, I was really touch be alone with her thoughts to lf rse he for es tak she e rties, and about her ‘relaxing time,’ tim to do—field trips, travel, pa le ab n’t are we s ng thi ny ughts the pandemic, there are ma lves to be alone with our tho rse ou for e tim e tak is do so on—but one thing we can lf-care. perfect time to practice se e th is It . sts ere int r ou e and explor d this month she has r alone time by reading, an he ces bra em , ve Lo e W Eva, in Books n & games, likes of All Things. Collin, in fu d un So The led cal ok bo e reviewed a pictur ote a special letter . Belani, in Dea r Sop hie , wr ng ati im an d an g win dra e to spend his tim r parents. and her appreciation for he about her hearing journey let your hair ? How do you unwind and ne alo e tim nd spe to e lik Do you music, paint, Do you watch TV, listen to y? da the of d en the at down nd time th? If you don’t usually spe ba le bb bu a e tak e yb ma or write, self-care your alone time and make joy en t gh mi t jus u Yo it! try alone, tine. a new part of your daily rou ar, Azalea created this *To celebrate the new ye aid batteries and ing artwork out of used hear th HEARt wi t ar ’s at th ear molds! Now

, M.S.D.E. Mel Paticoff Grossman Editor in Chief and maltipoo, Sophie

Look for these symbols throughout the magazine 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

Did you receive this issue from a friend, school, or office? Sign up for your own subscription to continue receiving Hearing Our Way ! www.HearingOurWay.com

Cover photo: Rebecca Murray


YOU ARE AMAZING! You can do anything you set your mind to.

books We L

kshelf o o B ’s a v E : ve has always

ey who rl from New Jers gi d ith ol rea -y 12 a her left ear, but w in Eva is ss lo g in ar he he has s sys® receiver and wireles loved reading ! S s cu Fo er to og the help of her R her back ! Ready ld ho ss lo g in ar ts he to extem, she never le ? Eva invites you ok bo te ri vo fa xt discover your ne elf. plore her booksh

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Accessible Ears – Evenr th s first trip to DisneyPark

ou not traveling right now, ard to! thing we can all look forw post-pandemic is some , re reason to be excited mo en ev ve ha we w, no d An ish has nership with Make-A-W because Disney in part ‘accessible ears.’ created its first set of s table Ear Headband come The Mickey Mouse Adjus at ue and is sold for $24.99 in Wishes Come True Bl justable strap features shopdisney.com. The ad ing for the perfect fit. self-stick fabric fasten r ing hearing aids, cochlea Now whether you’re wear have en face masks, you don’t ev or , es ss gla s, nt pla im ey ears falling off or being to worry about your Mick ur ears. uncomfortable behind yo ear-old in the photos, is a four-y Luke, the boy featured oshoot At the time of the phot a. rid Flo d, ou Cl . St m fro second nt but later received a he had one cochlear impla doing the photoshoot at implant. Luke had a blast under d the entire time, even DisneyWorld and smile his mask!


Papoulas ustrated by Ted ill d an rg be hl U INGS by Myron nts are deaf and use sign language TH L AL OF ND U SO E TH pare l about a boy whose e 1930s, before the time of digita is a picture book th ribe in their son to desc The story is set e. on at ly ic re s un m nt m re co pa to . The cially cochlear implants . The dad is espe em th ar he hearing aids and ot nn At first, und since they ca him sounds like. nd ou the way things so ar ld or w e nd what th t sure how to eager to understa bothers the boy, because he is no his father this s an idea to help ha he being asked to do , en Th y. tl und differen describe each so that different hear the sounds commend this things make. I re l ages who enjoy book to kids of al ming stories reading heartwar nnecting, learning about families co like to be deaf about what it was gy, and nolo before newer tech hat it might be understanding w ow up with like for a kid to gr ot hear or speak. parents who cann

Stati N life. n io t a ir p s In y of my ery single da

mazing. h ev “I have a bat e two or three baths—a bath, av in the And if I can h g to happen in o g is le hone ib at. I’ll take p Nothing terr h t r fo e im t nd so I always fi in the bath !” s n io t conversa er star n, Harry Pott o s t a W a m —Em

Meet three siblings

gan who never from Berkley, Michi in the way of fun! let hearing loss get

Sibling sp t

Lucas, 10, and Elise, 8, have bilateral hearing loss and wear hearing aids. Adelaide, 5, does not have hearing loss. Together they love to participate in activities like guitar lessons, dance classes, and swimming, and as a family they are avid travelers and look forward to returning to travel post-pandemic!

Lucas: I was not diagnosed with moderate bilateral hearing loss until I was eight-years-old, two years after my sister Elise got her hearing aids! Even though I’m the big brother, Elise helped me learn how to use my hearing aids, and now we work together to make sure our hearing aids are clean and ready to go for school each day. We both use HAT (hearing assistive technology / FM systems) in our classes. I understand Elise better because we both wear hearing aids.

W rds, W rds, W rds Let Your Hair Down

Elise: I was diagnosed with moderate bilateral hearing loss just before kindergarten. I like to be responsible and independent with my hearing aids. Lucas always helped me by reading to me before bed and playing games with me, so I felt really happy that I could help Lucas learn to use his hearing aids.

Adelaide: I look up to my big brother and sister, and sometimes I wish that I could wear hearing aids just like them! My parents are monitoring my hearing because my siblings were diagnosed at older ages. I love when Lucas and Elise help me with online schoolwork, piano, and bike riding.

One Last Word: Lucas plays guitar and mandolin and is teaching himself piano. When he grows up, he would like to be a luthier, someone who makes stringed instruments. Elise likes to read, paint, and write stories. When she grows up, she wants to be a glass blower or an audiologist. Adelaide hopes to travel to China and Paris one day and would like to be a veterinarian when she grows up. Together the family is learning ASL as a second language.

Language can be tricky, especially idioms, which are groups of words or expressions that mean something different than what they say. You might hear the idiom let your hair down and think, ‘But I don’t even have long hair!’ No! Let your hair down means to relax and unwind after working hard. Like this: “I work really hard to listen and focus all day long. Now that school is over, I’m going to let my hair down and relax by getting in my pajamas and reading Hearing Our Way! ”

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


ng vercomi


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

H W does Azalea hear?

With K-pop music playing, a whisk in hand for baking, and two hearing aids (with charms)!

All About Me

Azalea’s Faves H LANGUAGES English French Spanish

H ACTIVITIES Reading Hearing Our Way Baking (inspired by Mark it with an E!) Doing puzzles Singing karaoke Writing

H MUSIC: Blackpink

H MOVIES: Romantic comedies Blackpink: Light Up the Sky

H TV: The Voice America’s Got Talent

H GAMES: Just Dance 2020

H FOODS: Spaghetti bolognese Ice cream


Hi, I’m Azalea (aka Yaya), and I am 11-yearsold. I am a 5th grader at a French immersion school in Portland, Oregon. I was adopted from Ethiopia when I was six-months-old and joined my family in the U.S. I have a sister who is just five months older than me and a brother who is two years younger than me. I love to bake, play piano, watch TV, and do puzzles.

Hearing My Way

I was diagnosed with bilateral hearing loss at two-and-a-half and started wearing hearing aids when I was three-years-old. A few years ago, I decided that I wanted to make my hearing aids more interesting, so I started creating hearing aid charms. Soon I made more and more charms, enough to donate to other kids. I love donating charms and hearing from my audiologist and teacher for the deaf how much other little kids enjoy wearing them!

Ear Gear

Because of the pandemic I am doing virtual school. I am able to connect my computer straight to my hearing aids using Bluetooth. I love that!


Every year, I do a presentation to my class to share information about my hearing loss. I teach them about the ear, hearing loss, and hearing aids. I also give them tips for how to best communicate with me, such as facing me when they talk, articulating, and treating me with patience and kindness. My teacher for the deaf and hard of hearing liked my presentation so much that she now uses it as a template for other students with hearing loss.

Azalea presents her annual hearing loss PowerPoint for her class.

Overcoming Obstacles

Last year, I had a very big challenge—THE

LOUDEST CLASS IN THE WHOLE ENTIRE WORLD!!! To me, it sounded like a rock band! My teacher of the deaf and I tried everything to create a quieter listening environment, including tennis balls under chairs, a new audio system, and even reading an open letter to my class and teacher about how much the noise affects me. Unfortunately, it was still very noisy, and I often went home feeling frustrated and sad. For that reason, virtual learning has been a silver lining for me. I enjoy learning in a quiet and calm space.

Speaking Up

When I miss things during a conversation, it can leave me feeling really left out. It takes a lot of courage to ask, ‘What did I miss?’ or ‘What is the conversation about?’. It happens pretty often, and sometimes I feel shy and choose not to ask because I don’t want to interrupt. I’ve learned, though, that even if it’s hard to speak up for myself, it is worth it. If I let it go for too long, I end up missing too much, and then it’s too late to jump back into the conversation. I have had to learn to speak up for myself in order to stay connected.


One thing that is really important to me is my ‘relaxing time’. I think that every kid should have time alone to be able to concentrate with no distraction. I think it is especially important for kids like me with hearing loss, because we work super duper hard to hear all day in school. Every day, once I am done with my chores, I have my relaxing time by myself. I watch something alone on Netflix, read a book, write, or meditate. This daily habit helps me to cope and get calm, and I think once you start practicing ‘relaxing time’ you will never want to stop!

Ethiopian Roots

I am proud to be adopted from Ethiopia, and my parents have always taught me about my roots and culture. In 2017, we unexpectedly found out that I have a twin brother who still lives in Ethiopia! We planned a visit to Ethiopia, which was a very special trip but also challenging because we did not speak the same language. I am excited that my brother is starting to learn English now so that we can communicate without translators in the future!

Azalea started to design beautiful hearing aid charms for herself and now donates them to other kids with hearing loss!

Finding Friends

I love my friends, and I’m so glad that they all understand my hearing loss and ask if I need things repeated for me. Sadly, I do *Do you know a penpal not have any friends with hearing loss. I really wish I for Azalea? Get in touch! had a friend with hearing aids. I wish even more that info@hearingourway.com I had a brown/black friend with hearing aids.

Who I Am

My hearing loss is a part of who I am, but at the same time, it does not define me. My mom remembers that when I got my hearing aids, my personality really started to develop, and I really ‘became’ me. I think having hearing loss has made me a better listener and observer. I can really tune in and focus. I think I see a lot of little details that other people might miss. My other senses, like smell, are very strong.

One Last Word

I don’t know yet what I want to do when I grow up, but I think it will be something that allows my calm, neat, and organized side to shine. I hope in the future that I can manage and troubleshoot my own hearing aids. I would love to have an app on my phone that would make the teachers’ voices louder/clearer. I also want to find the perfect boyfriend and amazing friends! My advice to other kids with hearing loss is to always know that you are special. You don’t need to hide your hearing loss or try to be like anyone else. You are unique, and you are the boss of you. Also, it’s okay to feel sad, frustrated, and sensitive at times. I am on your side! Azalea and her family started a GoFundMe to raise money for her family in Ethiopia.

Be on our next cover! info@hearingourway.com


Hi bakers! My name is Evelyn, and

welcome to my kitchen. I’m 16-years-old, I have one cochlear implant and one hearing aid, and I live in Canada. I’m here to share my love of baking with you, so whip out your spatula, and let’s get cooking!

Comfy Cozy Slipper Cookies DIRECTIONS 1. Melt 4oz of candy melts, pour into a container, and freeze to create a ‘block’ of candy melts that will later be grated. This can be done the night before or a few hours in advance. 2. Pull apart the ‘nutter butter’ cookies and use a knife or spatula to scrape the peanut butter filling off of each cookie. Save the filling.

INGREDIENTS 15 ‘Nutter Butter’ peanut-shaped cookies 1 cup creamy peanut butter 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter 1 Tablespoon heavy whipping cream 1/8 teaspoon table salt 1¼ cups powdered sugar 20 oz bag of pink candy melts (or color of your choice)

EXTRA MATERIALS: • P archment-lined baking sheets that can fit in your freezer (or a plate or small cutting board with parchment paper on it) • Cheese grater

3. Combine the peanut butter, unsalted butter, whipping cream, and salt in a large microwave-safe bowl. Heat in microwave on high for 30 seconds, then stir. Heat for another 20 seconds, then stir. (If the butter is not completely melted, keep heating in 10 second increments, stirring each time, until melted). 4. Stir in powdered sugar. This will create a very thick fudge that you can stir with your hands. Stir in the reserved peanut butter filling from the cookies. 5. Using a spoon, scoop out 30 balls of fudge (about 2 Tablespoons each). Roll each scoop into a ball and place on one end of the peanut-shaped cookies. Use your finger to press around the edge of the ball to ‘seal’ it to the edge of the cookie. Repeat with all remaining fudge dough. 6. To shape the slippers, use your finger or end of a spoon to make an indentation in each ball where your feet would go. Pinch around the edge to create the opening of the slipper. Put tray in fridge so they don’t get too warm. 7. Take out the block of 4oz candy melts from the freezer and use a cheese grater to grate. Pour the grated candy onto a plate. 8. Melt the remaining 16 oz of candy melts in a bowl. Hold onto a slipper cookie by its sides. Dip the cookie, fudge side down, into the candy coating. Be sure to cover the top of the cookie and the indentation in candy. Move the cookie back and forth a few times in the candy. Lift the cookie and allow the excess to drip off. 9. Set the cookie on the plate filled with the grated candy. Sprinkle grated candy over the entire cookie to coat it. Let it sit for a minute in the grated candy. Remove and set on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Repeat, dipping and coating each of the cookies. 10. Freeze cookies for 5 minutes to set the candy coating. Remove from freezer and allow cookies to come to room temperature before serving. 11. Baking can be a great way to unwind and destress. Make it a part of your self-care routine and best of all you get to taste your creations and enjoy them with family and friends!


Get baking, then send in your pics: @HearingOurWay

Dear Sophie, Hi, my name is Belani, and I am 11-years-old. I was born deaf,

ful “I feel grate hat and happy t I am able to hear now.”

but my parents didn’t know until I was one. I got my first cochlear implant (they inserted an electrode array in my right cochlea!) when I was two-years-old and my left cochlear implant when I was threeyears-old. My family and I live in a small town in Imperial, California, and I was the first toddler to get a cochlear implant in my city. There also weren’t any therapies, doctors, audiologists, or teachers of the deaf in my local area. We had to travel to San Diego (two hours away!) twice a week to go to my therapy and doctor’s appointments. When we started, I was three-years-old and only knew one word. It took seven years of hard work to be at the same level as kids with typical hearing.

My mom and dad are really special to me. They went to a lot of meetings to get all the services I needed. In fact, my mom stopped working so that she could be with me and take me to all of my appointments. She took online classes, went to different schools, conferences, and trainings so that she could teach me how to speak and hear. She drove me to San Diego twice a week for seven years to see my doctors. I am the only student in my middle school (and city!) who has hearing loss and bilateral cochlear implants. Now, I have an audiologist and teacher of the deaf and hard of hearing who come from San Diego once a month to help me. I have all of the equipment that I need to be able to hear, like a DM system. I have a wonderful assistant that helps me whenever I need. This is all because of my parents advocating for me, and from their example I have learned to advocate for myself. I talk to my teachers and other students to communicate my needs. I ask them to speak up. I take advantage of the tools I have to be successful in school. I feel grateful and happy that I am able to hear now. I can enjoy music, dance, TikTok, Disney movies, and so much more. I feel special to be the only one in my area with cochlear implants, and I prove to everyone that nothing is impossible, and I can do what other kids can do.

Mother’s Father’s Day & Day are coming up in May and June. Think about your parents, grandparents, and the grownups who help you on your hearing loss journey. Write a letter about them and send it to us ! info@hearingourway.com




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5 4 3 2 1

Slowly take 5 deep breaths List 4 things you can see or notice around you list 3 things you are grateful for say 2 positive self-talk statements to yourself name 1 thing you are looking forward to today

gour way.c info@hearin the next issue . to be featured in


An exciting PEN PAL PROGRAM presented by Ryan Brady with Hearing Our Way ! Pen pals will receive an introductory letter from Ryan and an assigned pen pal. Sign up is free for Hearing Our Way readers at www.HIPPkids.com

©2020 Pathway2Success

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Looking for awesome educational resources designed just for kids with hearing loss? Check out TOD on Wheels, where you can find worksheets, games, teacher’s guides, and more! www.todonwheels.com • @todonwheels

We all love our birthdays, but kids with hearing loss sometimes have a bonus celebration—the anniversary of the day they got their hearing devices—their hearing birthdays.

Kennedy, 5, celebrated her 4th anniversary of her bilateral cochlear implants this year. Her mom wants to wish her a very special hearing birthday and remind her that she will always be Kennedy’s biggest supporter on her hearing journey. Happy hearing birthday, Kennedy!

We want to see photos of your hearing birthday celebration! Email them to us at info@hearingourway.com and you may be featured in Hearing Our Way.

Parents, want to surprise your child with a hearing birthday shoutout? Get in touch via email: info@hearingourway.com

Azalea loves reading Hearing Our Way and you will, too!

Award-Winning Book Series

aring loss “Every child wit h he ine !” az shou ld have this mag is the

aring Our Way An annual subscription to He cher, or audiologist! tea perfect gift for any student, Bulk pricing is available Prices start at $19.99/year. doctors offices! for schools, hospitals, and

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Sophie loves shining a spotlight on amazing kids with hearing loss around the world. To shine a spotlight on someone you know, write to us at info@hearingourway.com!

Addie, 10, from Verona, Wisconsin, is a fourth grader with unilateral

hearing loss. She has severe to profound hearing loss in her right ear and uses a Roger Focus FM System in school. Having unilateral hearing loss can make hearing in noise really challenging—and school is a noisy place! She often needs to ask people to repeat themselves. Addie loves to be active, ride her bike, and travel with her family. Addie’s speech teacher, Patti Richardson, sees how challenging it can be for Addie to live and learn with hearing loss. Even though she sees Addie work extra hard at school, she also sees something else about Addie: her big, kind heart! She recognizes that Addie makes time to help others who may be struggling with a math problem, searching for a lost mitten, or just in need of a friend. Ms. Richardson says, “Addie’s Super Power is her self-advocacy skills (the way we all use our voices and strategies to get us what we need to be successful)! Even though Addie has to work a little harder to make sure she hears all of the information she needs, when she uses her Super Power of self-advocacy along with her kind heart, the sky’s the limit for Addie’s success at school and beyond.”


Addie loves to read Hearing Our Way because it is all about people with hearing loss just like her. She likes to learn about different types of hearing loss and technology and finds really good advice in HOW.

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