Hearing Our Way: Summer 2022

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The magazine for kids and teens with hearing loss

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Contents 4 Things

Hi from Mel!

We Love

6 Overcoming Obstacles 10 Fun & Games 12 Sophieʻs


Contributors Melanie Paticoff Grossman • Editor in Chief Magazine Design • N-KCreative.com Overcoming Obstacles • Zoey Eva’s Bookshelf • 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 9, No. 2 ©2022 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 © or other customer opportunities, change of address, 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,

ecially rd this past school year, esp ha d rke wo all we t ub do There’s no pandemic. ges on our plates due to the with so many extra challen nto tead of singing the hit Enca ins er, mm su s thi e yb ma t I’ve been thinking tha about school, no, no, no, no. k tal n’t do we s: thi try all ld ou song about Bruno, we sh t is. At least for a few weeks, tha gboard-riding, ing every minute. This lon joy en d an life gh ou thr g the way. Covergirl Zoey is skatin king her hearing aid along roc is d an lf rse he for s am dre two animal-loving girl has big her hearing aid for almost ng ari we ed pp sto e sh t, in fac But it wasn’t always easy… s. ercoming Obstacle years! Find out why in Ov We Love and ’ve got fierce Grace in Look we l— rol a on e on ly on e Ally, Zoey’s not the . Then on page 9, we featur in o du er ist r-s the an ATV-riding bro The bill would ves with her bill Ally’s Act. wa g kin ma ly tru is o wh e cochlear a tween with microtia planted hearing devices lik im of st co the r ve co to ies require insurance compan d hearing aids. implants and bone-anchore e to try take time for ourselves. Tim t’s Le K. EA BR A KE TA asks in THIS SUMMER, LET’S ppy. Time to relax. As Luisa ha us ke ma t tha s ng thi some something new. Time to do ctations, would that free pe ex of t igh we ing sh the cru Encanto, “If I could shake g it would, pleasure?” I have a feelin ple sim Or ? on ati ax rel room up for joy? Or and I’m ready to find out!

an, M.S.D.E. Mel Paticoff Grossm 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

You Are Inspiring! You can do anything you set your mind to.

Look We L ve Grace is a 6-year-old girl from Columbus, Georgia who decided to celebrate her birthday with a fabulous ‘flashion’ (as Grace calls it) photoshoot!

Photo credits: Sumika Phillips

After losing her hearing from meningitis at age 3, she was implanted and activated a few months later. Now, Grace loves to sing Beyoncé, dance tap and ballet, and is excelling in math and reading at school. When Grace grows up, she wants to be a fairy, a firefighter, and a princess! We love Grace’s fierce fashion photoshoot and, most of all, her confidence as she lets her personality, and cochlear implants, shine in her photos!

books We L

ve: Eva’s Bookshelf

Eva is a 13-year-old girl from New Jersey who has

always loved reading! She has hearing loss in her left ear, but with the help of her Roger Focus® receiver and wireless system, she never lets hearing loss hold her back! Ready to discover your next favorite book? Eva invites you to explore her bookshelf.

I Am Malala Yousafzai is the 26th children's book in author Brad Meltzer’s Ordinary People Change the World series. Malala was an ordinary Muslim girl from Pakistan who tried to stand up for her right to go to school. When she was 15, she was attacked by a powerful group who wanted women to stay silent, and she survived. She had to have many surgeries and was left with permanent damage to her face as well as hearing loss, for which she received a cochlear implant. She continued to advocate for womens’ rights and education and at 17, became the youngest person to win the Nobel Peace Prize. I like reading this picture book series because it shows how people can live very different lives than you do and may be treated differently because of their cultures and beliefs. I liked how it highlighted the skill of advocacy, which is so important as a person with hearing loss. I was disappointed that the book did not mention Malala’s hearing loss or show her cochlear implant in illustrations. I would still recommend this book because it teaches kids to stand up for what we believe in!


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Ride it Ou t Aliza, 20, and Bruce, 16, both have Cochlear™ Nucleus® System 7 cochlear implants. Together they enjoy sports like wakeboarding and ATV racing. They have a special bond not only as siblings with hearing loss, but also as part of a family with parents who are deaf as well!

Aliza: I had a progressive hearing loss, and by the time I was 12 months old, I was

profoundly deaf. I was the first to get a cochlear implant, and it inspired my parents to get implanted as well! When my brother was born deaf, my parents had no doubt they would implant him, too. It was fun to be the big sister and help him learn to use his cochlear implants and identify new sounds.

Bruce: It was great to have Aliza show me the ropes with my cochlear implant. She became the family technology expert and helps me with my devices, app, and my favorite feature—Bluetooth!

Aliza: We have become really close by participating in sports together. First we did wakeboarding and then we got into ATV racing, inspired by our dad.

Bruce: It can be really hard to hear over the loud noise of the ATV engine,

especially while wearing our helmets. Sometimes we use sign language to help us communicate before the race.

One Last Word: We feel so grateful that even though all four members of

our family have hearing loss, we get to experience a world of sound together. We know we can do anything we put our minds to, especially with each other’s support. Our hope for each other is that we reach for, and even beyond, our dreams and achieve success.

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 ride it out and think you’re going surfing, but no! Ride it out means to stick to what you’re doing over time and get through it. Like this: “I’ve had a lot of highs and lows this school year. Now, I’m just trying to ride it out until school’s out for summer.”

Looking back: Aliza and Bruce loved racing ever since they were little kids!

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


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H W does Zoey hear? With her longboard in hand, her two dogs, and one hearing aid!

Stories o Inspiring e You! Teens Lik Kids and

All About Me

Zoey's Faves ★ ACTIVITIES Playing guitar Swimming ★ TV iCarly ★ MOVIES Encanto We Can Be Heroes ★ FOODS Macaroni and cheese Latkes (potato pancakes) ★ QUOTE

“I don’t need easy, I just need possible.” — Bethany Hamilton, surfing star

Hello, I’m Zoey! I am a 6th grader from Timnath, Colorado. I have Enlarged Vestibular Aqueducts (EVA) bilaterally that cause a moderate-to-severe hearing loss in my left ear and typical hearing in my right ear. I love riding my longboard down my street- it is so much fun! I also love my black lab, Hero. He is such a sweet dog!

Hearing My Way I was born with hearing loss, so I have always thought of it as a part of me, like my face, legs, and body. It’s not something I can change, and I wouldn’t want to. Even though my parents knew I had hearing loss, it wasn’t until I was four-years-old that we learned why. My mom noticed that when she looked in the rearview mirror of the car, I was always turning to hear with my right ear. I had a CT scan, and it showed that I had EVA. That’s when I got my hearing aid, and I remember being so happy when I put it in and could

hear better for the first time. Because I have EVA, I have to be careful when playing sports like basketball and riding my longboard. If I hit my head hard enough, I could lose more hearing.

Overcoming Obstacles When I was younger, kids at my old school teased me about my hearing loss. It upset me so much that I took off my hearing aid and didn’t even look at it again for almost two years! Finally, last year, my good friend Victoria encouraged me to start wearing it again. My teacher, Ms. Wilson, helped me by telling the class about my hearing aid so that they wouldn’t ask me, ‘What’s that in your ear?’ all day long. That day changed my life, and now I wear my hearing aid every day!

Left: Zoey loves her pups! Right: Longboarding has been a fun sport to learn.


Marvelous Mondays and Thankful Thursdays When I was younger, I worked with my deaf and hard of hearing (D/HH) teacher, Ms. Buffington, every Monday. I had been having a hard time with my hearing loss, but she became a trusted person I could talk to about it. She made me feel safe and understood. She was amazing and very kind. Now in 6th grade, I look forward to working with my new D/HH teacher, Mr. Viola, every other Thursday. He teaches me how to advocate for myself and helps me learn sign language. He is caring and understands what I am going through.

Happy Hero and Playful Paisley I have two sweet dogs. Hero is a crazy five-year-old black lab, and Paisley is my silly one-year-old sheepadoodle puppy. Hero loves playing ‘catch the snow’ in the winter. Other times, he doesn’t like the outdoors very much! I always have to go

Left: Zoey at ASL club at school. Right: Zoe visits the audiologist. outside first, and then he will finally set a ‘paw’ outside! Seeing energetic Paisley roll around in the snow definitely encourages Hero to get out and play. I know my dogs love me so much (and I love them more)!

Learning to Longboard A longboard is a big skateboard. I am still learning to ride it, with help from my neighbor and instructor, Caleb. It’s been really fun because it teaches balance and patience. It requires a lot of focus, skill, and practice. I think it is amazing! Another activity I enjoy is paddle boarding. My family likes to visit the mountains during the summer. One time, my uncle took me out paddle boarding, but the board started tipping. Knowing we were both going to fall forward, I leaned back the other way to try and save us, but instead I leaned too far and the entire board flipped over! We were soaked and freezing!

School Clubs I enjoy being a part of clubs at school. GIRLS (Girls In Real Life Situations) club teaches me about friendship and kindness, and helps make our school a better place. Recently, I started an ASL (American Sign Language) club, and a lot of kids have wanted to participate!

Be on our next cover! info@hearingourway.com

Family Fun My family is very understanding about my hearing loss. My cousin Carmen is very kind and will repeat things multiple times if we are in a loud place. I love to play with her and her brother Alex at their house. They are the closest things I have to siblings, and I love them very much!

My Best Advice I think people with hearing loss are really special. Hearing loss should not be something to be ashamed of. I think it’s inspiring and makes us unique. If you have hearing loss and are reading this and sometimes you feel like no one understands, I want you to know that I understand you completely. And keep reading Hearing Our Way because it has helped me know I’m not alone.

#LifeGoals When I grow up, I want to study biology and immunology. I have always been interested in learning how our bodies function, how to cure diseases, and about DNA. The COVID-19 pandemic has inspired me even more to learn about understanding diseases and developing cures in the future.


 cover, Azalea, featured on our Spring r a year later continues to receive fan mail ove pal and including requests to be her pen charms. questions about her hearing aid low-up piece Her interview also inspired a fol for teens. in Scholastic ’s Choices magazine


We’ve Got Mail! We love receiving your notes about Hearing Our Way. . . they make our day. Here are just a few!


Dear Azalea, nt teacher, Way with my itinera I read Hearing Our We are about your article. and we were talking your put your charms on wondering how you , please? u explain that to us hearing aids. Can yo curious. idea, but it makes us We think it is a neat Thank you!

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Hi Danica, Thank you for inquiring about my hearing charms. I use earring par ts. I prefer them over a simple met al ring, as I can put them on and off easily. I hope this helps! Take care, Azalea

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ss o l g Ally’s Act: Making waves f n i or kids with hear It all started with a homework assignment when Ally Tumblin, of Colorado, was nineyears-old. The prompt was to write a letter to an elected official about an important cause. The first thing that came to Ally’s mind was her BAHA (Bone-Anchored Hearing Aid). Ally was born with both microtia* and aural atresia* on her right side. At first, Ally’s parents didn’t have many resources to turn to, but through their own research, they learned about BAHA devices that could help Ally hear. However, the BAHA was not covered by their insurance, and the devices can range from $5,000 to $12,000 each! Ally’s parents paid out of their own pocket for Ally’s BAHA when she was one-year-old. When the audiologist put Ally’s BAHA on and whispered Ally’s name behind her ear, Ally’s face lit up and everyone started crying tears of joy!

Left: Ally, with her mom, ready to advocate! Below: Ally holding a copy of the letter she wrote to her local representative.

Ally’s mom, Melissa, was her role model in learning to adocate for both herself and for other families. Melissa created a nonprofit organization called Ear Community that provides resources about microtia and atresia. She also helps families get insurance coverage when possible and fights for insurance companies to cover devices like BAHAs and cochlear implants. So when Ally had to write a letter, she was inspired to continue her mom’s work. She knew that even though her family was able to pay for a BAHA, many families would not be able to get them unless they were covered by insurance. Ally wrote to her local representative, Rep. Joe Neguse, D-Colo., asking him to mandate insurance coverage for hearing devices. She wrote, “There are thousands of children and adults just like me who need this device to hear better.” Ally got his attention, and he became the sponsor of “Ally’s Act,” a bill that would ensure private insurance providers cover implantable hearing devices. Ally is excited that her letter inspired Ally’s Act in her name and hopes that the bill passes. She says, “I think kids deserve to hear.”

For more information about Allyʻs Act and instructions to write to your state representatives, please visit EarCommunity.org.

*Microtia: missing or underdeveloped outer ear *Atresia: missing ear canal (middle ear)


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Summer Activity Challenge Make the most of your summer by challenging yourself with these goals! How many can you do? Let us know at info@hearingourway.com.

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Answers on page 12

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. Echo celebrated her first hearing birthday when she

was four-years-old. She loves her Phonak hearing aids.

Happy hearing birthday, Echo!

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

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The Award Winning Series about Hearing Loss and Cochlear Implants

Let Sophie help you share your hearing loss and cochlear implant story! AVAILABLE AT: SophiesTales.com

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Marley is a five-year-old girl from Cincinnati, Ohio who attends a mainstream preschool in Wisconsin and will be starting kindergarten this fall. She has two older brothers and a new baby sister. She is the only person in her family with hearing loss, which is caused by EVA (enlarged vestibular aqueduct syndrome). She has bilateral cochlear implants. Marley loves to decorate her cochlear implant processors with all sorts of vinyl stickers to match her outfits. She loves to make her processors special and unique just like her. She enjoys meeting friends with hearing loss. Through her teacher of the deaf, she is even getting to know some elementary school kids with hearing loss, and together they work on self-advocacy skills. Marley’s teacher says she is definitely a leader in the classroom, never shy to answer a question, and a quick learner. Marley is also a big fan of Hearing Our Way; she loves when the new magazines come in the mail. Her parents, who share Marley’s story on Instagram @mqmcochlearexperience, love it, too. “For us, it is very, very important that Marley knows she is not alone. Hearing Our Way allows Marley (and mom and dad) to stay connected and continue learning with the hearing loss community.” When Marley grows up she would love to be a hairstylist, an audiologist, a teacher, and a mom! Just like covergirl Zoey!


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