Hearing Our Way: Summer 2020

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The magazine for kids and teens with hearing loss uting Sco

Summer 20


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Contents 4 Things

We Love

Hi from Mel!

6 O vercoming Obstacles

10 Fun & Games 12 Sophie’s


Contributors Melanie Paticoff Grossman • Editor in Chief Magazine Design • N-KCreative.com Overcoming Obstacles • Jack 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 7, No. 2 ©2020 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,

en staying home e, while many of us have be tim ing spr in ck ba s mm er thi ite As I wr scouti ng out su all are we t tha e sur am I tdoors after a for weeks and months, ather and spending time ou we rm wa the ing joy en to ? Was there and looking forward st during your time at home mo ss mi u yo did at Wh ! long, strange spring your favorite thing t surprised you? What was tha me ho g yin sta t ou ab ed anything you lik mer? u looking forward to this sum about spring? What are yo out scouting. , is a teen who knows all ab les ac st Ob ng mi co er Ov Jack , featured in with hearing loss esome idea to help people aw an of ht ug tho o wh ut ver He is an Eagle Sco rt police officers that the dri ale to car the in use to n l sig ething like him. He created a specia own hearing loss to do som his by ed pir ins s wa k Jac w has hearing loss. We love ho for his community! tured as well. ve some awesome girls fea ha we h— ug tho uts sco y It’s not all about bo a family of four sisters in Things We L ve; us for iew rev ok bo w ne g Eva has a brand her personal story of findin res sha ley Ha nd frie r ou d ; an thanks is featured in Sibling sp t Cookie season never ends ut Sco l Gir r, me sum it’s h ug her self-confidence. Even tho to

scout we can all aim to practice , uts sco y bo or l gir in te good Whether or not you participa , making new friends, being ers oth ng lpi he , ess dn kin mores values this summer such as g and making some some s’ pin cam ing go e urs co of d sisters and brothers, an ! , M.S.D.E. can be fun for everyone, too 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: © Southern Images Photography


See Everything They Say Enjoy talking on the phone – confident that you’ll catch every word! The ultimate phone for people with hearing loss, CapTel® shows you captions of everything they say. It’s like captions on TV – for the phone!

www.CapTel.com 1-800-233-9130

CapTel 2400i includes Bluetooth® wireless technology and Speakerphone.

FEDERAL LAW PROHIBITS ANYONE BUT REGISTERED USERS WITH HEARING LOSS FROM USING INTERNET PROTOCOL (IP) CAPTIONED TELEPHONES WITH THE CAPTIONS TURNED ON. IP Captioned Telephone Service may use a live operator. The operator generates captions of what the other party to the call says. These captions are then sent to your phone. There is a cost for each minute of captions generated, paid from a federally administered fund. No cost is passed on to the CapTel user for using the service. CapTel captioning service is intended exclusively for individuals with hearing loss. CapTel® is a registered trademark of Ultratec, Inc. The Bluetooth® word mark and logos are registered trademarks owned by Bluetooth SIG, Inc. and any use of such marks by Ultratec, Inc. is under license. (v2.6 10-19) .

books We L ve: Eva’s Bookshelf

has always

sey who Eva is an 11-year-old girl from New Jer hearing loss in her left

loved reading! She has us® ear, but with the help of her Roger Foc er receiver and wireless system, she nev to dy Rea k! lets hearing loss hold her bac Eva discover your next favorite book? invites you to explore her bookshelf.

Gennifer Choldenko is the Al Capone Does My Shirts by place during the Great first book in a wild series that takes Flanagan (or as everyone Depression, 100 years ago. Matthew h his family because his dad calls him—Moose), has to move wit ewhere very unusual – an just got a new job. But the job is som on where very dangerous island called Alcatraz, a famous pris criminals go. Most families probably wouldn’t make the move, even for a very good new job, but Moose’s family needs the money. His sister Natalie has autism, and they need the money If to help send her to a special school. of ul onf spo a you like your books with drama, a cup of adventure, a sprinkle of history, and a dash of humor, I recommend this series!


Instagram We L


rae @ goldenunicorn That’s because Rae is

Have you ever heard of a ‘pupicorn’? No? nt left her with only accide one-of-a-kind ! When she was born, an t ear moved to the top of righ her right ear, but as she grew, the orn-dog! Having her ear in her head! It makes her look like a unic on one side probably helps the middle of her head instead of only equally from both direcRae hear better, with sound coming in her left and Rae couldn’t tions. What if a car was coming from pt* by shifting her ear to hear it? Her body was so smart to ada is really special, and help keep her safe! Rae’s way of hearing hearing, especially our reminds us of all of our unique ways of and microtia! friends with single-sided hearing loss *Adapt – to change something so that it is more useful or easier to use.

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

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hey, Flor from New Port Ric the way of fun ! hearing loss get in ing , 10, do not have hear ie lo Ch d an , 14 , nn ily Mad ve d Brooklyn, 8, both ha an 11, n, yn is dd A . ss lo plants. bilateral cochlear im ar we d an ss lo g in ar he

Madilynn: I am a passionate dancer and love teaching my younger sisters new dances. I try to help Addi and Brooklyn if they don’t hear or understand something. They’ve taught me not to take my hearing for granted; I’m always reminded of this at night when they take their cochlear implants off for bed.

Addisynn: When I was born, my parents didn’t know I had hearing loss. My kindergarten teacher suspected I couldn’t hear. First I wore hearing aids, then a year later I got cochlear implants. I had to work really hard to learn to listen with them and speak more clearly, but I was determined!

W rds, W rds, W rds Hold Down the Fort

Chloie: I love my sisters so much, and even though we do fight sometimes, I always have their backs. We are really active and love swimming, jumping on the trampoline, singing, and dancing. Sometimes my sisters’ ‘ears’ fall off, but they just put them back on, and we keep going!

Brooklyn: Addi is my ‘twinning’ sister – we share the same birthday and hearing journey. At first when I got my cochlear implants, I wasn’t too sure about them – I even put a blanket over my head! – but it really helped to have a big sister who has them, too.

One Last Word: It can be frustrating when misunderstandings occur because of hearing and speech challenges, but at the end of the day we love each other and are here for each other always. Madi wants to be a marine mammal trainer when she grows up. Addi thinks she would make a good YouTube blogger. Chloie wants to be an artist; she has a kind heart and always watches over her sisters. Brookie knows she is a regular girl with special ears and hopes to be a baker one day. They all wish for health and happiness for each other.

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 hold down the fort and think it means you need to grab on tight to your camping tent… no! Hold down the fort means you are in charge of keeping things as they are while someone else leaves. Like this: “Mom went outside for a phone call, so I need to hold down the fort and watch my little sister until she comes back.”


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

acK’s Faves H BOOKS Think and Grow Rich

H MUSIC Country

H CONCERT Off the Rails

H MOVIES Top Gun Ford vs Ferrari

H FOODS: Cheeseburger Chinese Food

H SPORTS: Golf Football Basketball

H PLACES: Rome, Italy Paris, France Hawaii, US

H W does Jack hear? With his eagle scout badges on display, and two cochlear implants!

All About Me

Hi, I’m Jack, and I’m 18-years-old and just finishing senior year at Reedy High School in Frisco, Texas. I love to play sports, hangout with friends, and go camping. In fact, I was a boy scout for many years before earning Eagle Scout rank last summer.

Hearing My Way

I lost my hearing when I had meningitis at 13 months old. I became a candidate for a cochlear implant and received my first one on the right side at 16 months. I received my left cochlear implant just after my third birthday. I attended a preschool program for kids with hearing loss and typical peers in Ohio, where we lived at the time.

School Cool

I was mainstreamed in kindergarten through second grade and attended a combined mainstream/hearing impaired program from third through fifth grade. Since moving to Texas, I have been mainstreamed from sixth through twelfth grade, receiving services from a very special teacher, Tonya Garrett, my teacher of the deaf/hard of hearing. She helps put in place wonderful accommodations for me, including preferential seating, copies of classroom notes and PowerPoints, and extra time for tests. I attend IEP meetings with my teachers where I hear how they think I am doing in the classroom, and where I can advocate for myself. A few hours each week, I work directly with Tonya on new vocabulary, writing, and, most recently, college applications.

That’s Just the Way I Hear

When people ask me about my hearing devices I usually explain what cochlear implants are and why I have them. Most people are amazed when they learn about this incredible technology. I embrace the technology of my cochlear implants, and I try to use them to my fullest ability. I want other kids to know that they should never be embarrassed about wearing technology that helps you live a full life.

Family First

I have a close relationship with my family. My siblings have always been super supportive of me. We have a good sense of humor; for instance, sometimes if I don’t know the right word I substitute a different word, and my family likes to call these sayings ‘Jack’isms.’ I bonded with my brother Jared by doing boy scouts together and celebrating my Eagle Court of Honor alongside him last fall.


“If opportunity doesn’t knock, build a door.” —Milton Berle


Jack shows off his cochlear implants through the years.

Jack (left) with his sister and brother at the beach.

Jack and his special placard for drivers with

Eagle Scout

When I was 16, I needed to complete a special project to earn rank as an Eagle Scout. I had just started driving, and I had an idea to help bridge the gap between police officers and drivers with hearing loss. I created a sign for drivers to show police during traffic stops to alert them that they are deaf. There is a place on the sign where the driver can note specific things such as ‘I have cochlear implants’ or ‘I can read lips.’ This actually became a program with my local police department, where I helped train officers to look for the sign and know what questions to ask a driver with hearing loss. The signs are now available at the police station and have been distributed to people with hearing loss in my community.

hearing loss make the local news!

Fun with Friends

I am lucky to have a great group of friends with hearing loss from Callier Cochlear Implant Day Camp, a special camp that I volunteer at every year. It’s a great feeling to build friendships with other teens experiencing life with hearing loss. At the same time, most of my friends at school and scouts do not have hearing loss, and because I hear so well with my cochlear implants, I sometimes forget I am deaf! Of course, sleepovers, swimming, and water activities always remind me, but my friends are supportive and know how to communicate with me when I can’t hear. My scout friends look out for me when we are camping, swimming, canoeing, etc., without making a big deal about my hearing loss. I really appreciate that!

Inspiration Station

I’m very passionate about the business world, and I plan on starting my own company someday, and even multiple companies throughout my lifetime. There are many entrepreneurs that have inspired me like Elon Musk, Mark Cuban, Henry Ford, and Warren Buffet to name a few. I want my businesses to have an impact on the world. I want to make people happy, travel the world, and live life to the fullest potential!

Be on our next cover! info@hearingourway.com

“ I want other kids to know that they should never be embarrassed about wearing technology that helps you live a full life.”


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!

Scouting for Thin Mint Cookies COOKIE INSTRUCTIONS 1. In a medium bowl, mix the flour, cocoa powder, and salt. Set aside.

COOKIE INGREDIENTS 2 cups all-purpose flour ½ cup dark cocoa powder ½ teaspoon salt 1 cup unsalted butter, softened 2/3⅔cup granulated sugar 1 large egg white 1 teaspoon vanilla extract ½ teaspoon peppermint extract

COATING INGREDIENTS 12 ounces dark or semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped ½ teaspoon vegetable oil ¼ teaspoon peppermint extract

2. U sing a stand mixer with the paddle attachment or with a hand-held mixer, beat the butter and sugar together on medium speed until smooth and creamy, about 3 minutes. 3. B eat in the egg white, vanilla, and peppermint extract. (If the dough appears curdled, it’s okay.) 4. S lowly add the flour in 3 parts, beating just until incorporated after each one. Scrape the sides of the bowl as needed. 5. D ivide the dough in half. Place the first half of dough between two pieces of parchment paper and roll to a ¼ inch thickness. Leave the dough in between the parchment paper and transfer to a baking sheet. Repeat this with the other half of dough. 6. R efrigerate for at least 3 hours or freeze it for 1 hour. 7. P reheat the oven to 350°F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. 8. T ake out one slab of dough and remove the top layer of parchment paper. Cut circles with a 2” cookie cutter. Place the cookies on the baking sheets about 1½” apart. 9. R eroll the scraps of dough and chill. Take out the other slab of dough, and repeat process. Keep rolling and cutting until all of the dough is on the baking sheets. 10. B ake for 15 to 18 minutes. Cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes before transferring cookies to a wire rack to cool completely.

COATING INSTRUCTIONS 1. Combine the chocolate, oil, and extract in a medium microwave safe bowl. Microwave and stir continuously until melted and smooth. 2. Using a fork, dip each cookie into the melted chocolate, turning to coat and tapping off any excess. 3. Place cookies onto a parchment lined baking sheet. Refrigerate the cookies until set, about 10 minutes. 4. Cookies are best when served cold. A fun and refreshing summer treat during a time when girl scout cookies are not sold!


Get baking, then send in your pics: @HearingOurWay

My Cochlear Implant Experience



by Haley H.



Hi, I’m Haley from Ardmore, Alabama. I was born deaf due to Connexin 26 and auditory neuropathy. I got my cochlear implant when I was two-yearsold, and now I am 20. I want to share two pictures of myself with you.

IN THE FIRST PICTURE, you may think I look

really confident with my big smile and perfectly wavy hair. In fact, it’s the complete opposite. The first picture was taken in high school. I am wearing a bunch of makeup and a ton of hairspray. I always used makeup and fake smiles to cover up how I really felt on the inside… insecure. I didn’t want people to know I was deaf. I was afraid of people judging me and belittling me, so I put on makeup every day and tried to appear confident. I never mentioned that I was deaf unless I had to. Even so, high school was brutal for me. The majority of my friends were teachers. I had trouble hearing in the lunchroom so I ate alone in the classroom. If girls invited me to eat with them, I turned them down because I was afraid they would run out of patience if I kept asking them to repeat themselves. I couldn’t talk to people in the hallways because I couldn’t hear over other people talking, so I walked to my classes alone. I stayed in the bathroom during pep rallies because they were too noisy. I felt invisible; sometimes I even felt like because I didn’t have friends and couldn’t make any, that I had no point in living.


after my first semester of college. I’m wearing no makeup and my naturally wavy hair. For the first time ever, I finally felt confident enough in myself to go out in public without any makeup. This was the day I realized I had changed into a whole new confident person since I graduated high school. I needed to take a picture to capture that moment. Ever since then, the days just keep getting better, and I am growing even more confident in myself as I continue college life.


My dream career

My hearing loss journey began when I was diagnosed with bilateral mild to severe sensorineural hearing loss at four-years-old. I currently wear in-the-canal hearing aids. I grew up with a big family in New York and always enjoyed spending time with my younger cousins. This inspired me to become a pediatric audiologist to help kids bridge the communication gap by providing them with access to sound.

Overcoming Obstacles

Growing up, I was involved in several outdoor sports like field hockey and lacrosse that took place rain or shine. If it was raining, I had to take out my hearing aids because they were not waterproof. This made it challenging to hear and understand what was going on, especially in the middle of a competitive game. Fortunately, I had teammates and coaches who were understanding and gave me signals to let me know what was happening.

Hearing Bling

One of my favorite things about pediatric audiology is the different ways kids can decorate their hearing aids and cochlear implants. There are so many stickers, vinyls, gems, and charms that kids can use to make their devices more fun and personal, and it encourages them to wear their devices… with pride!

Role Models

My parents are my role models. Despite the hardships they have faced as Polish immigrants, they always practice kindness. They have shown me how to embrace challenges that come my way and never give up.

My Best Advice

If I could go back and give advice to myself as a teen, I would say, “Always advocate for yourself and never apologize for asking someone to repeat themselves!” Learn more about Veronica’s graduate program in deaf education and audiology:



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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

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.

Emma celebrates the second hearing anniversary of her hearing aids with a totally awesome hearing aid cake! 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

Kennedi and Addison love reading Hearing Our Way and you will, too!

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Vivian is a 12-year-old with cochlear implants from Winfield, Illinois. She loves to play

sports, especially basketball, softball, volleyball, and soccer. She’s also an avid reader and loves music. She plays violin and piano and has even participated in Battle of the Bands at school. Vivian was identified with a mild hearing loss at age 3 and started wearing bilateral hearing aids. Her hearing loss progressed, and by kindergarten she needed cochlear implants. At first, the implants sounded strange (people sounded squeaky, like mice!), but then it got better. When Vivian was 6 years old, her left implant failed, and she needed to be re-implanted. She felt really scared initially but now, years later, she loves her cochlear implants! She especially loves being able to hear and socialize with her friends at the pool.


As an athlete, Vivian has had to make adjustments to accommodate her cochlear implants while she plays. For instance, pitching masks for softball can be difficult for Vivian to wear. She found that the upside down T-strap works best with double braids in her hair. She also uses an adjustable batting helmet that can be loosened to fit over her implants and then tightened. A few years ago, Vivian attended The Listening Foundation Cochlear Implant Family Camp in Colorado. She loved meeting kids with cochlear implants just like her! She even stayed in touch with fellow camper Natalie, from New Jersey, who came to visit her last summer. They love camp and hope to go again this summer!