Being a teenager is a fun, but it can be hard work too. Andrew Perry, a 14-year-old born with Treacher Collins and Bilateral Microtia and Atresia, has conductive hearing loss in both ears making participation, working in groups of students and hearing class lectures even more draining than it can already be.
“Straining to hear can make someone with a hearing loss tired throughout the day,” says Melissa Tumblin, Founder of Ear Community. The background noise common in rooms full of students made concentration difficult for Andrew. Clyde, Andrew’s father, said that Andrew’s academic performance had declined significantly, and he believed it was because of the difficulty of hearing and following instructions in the classroom.
Here’s how an Audiologist went the extra mile for Andrew, as first told on Ear Community.
Not for Alyssa (Aly) Klepper. Aly is a California girl who’s letting nothing stop her from pursuing her dreams. Born with an unidentified neuromuscular disease, Aly is deaf in her left ear. As a fan of Hollywood, films and television, hearing is an important part of her life and future career. In the fall, Aly will attend California State University, Fullerton to pursue a major in film and television production. “I am currently taking two film classes at my school, and I cannot wait to take it to the next level at Cal State Fullerton! Every aspect of this field interests me, including the way a crew/actors come together and make something that can make you feel any emotion,” Aly explained.
Today, Aly’s story has reached over 150,000 people through YouTube. The video: Aly hearing with her Ponto Plus for the first time. “I decided on the Ponto Plus after trying out everything that was available to me. It was the clearest, and I had no doubts when choosing it.” Aly had the abutment implanted on June 28, 2013, and her Ponto Plus was activated on September 28, 2013.
In the middle of winter, it’s always fun to look ahead to the summer. Summer time also means it’s time for Ear Community’s Microtia and Atresia Summer Family Picnics. The picnics provide an incredible opportunity for Microtia and Atresia families to come together, share experiences and make new friends. Medical professionals also join in the fun and are available to answer questions and help to educate families on options for hearing loss. Families will even be able to test out the newest state-of-the-art hearing products.
As Tim recalls, Anthony’s mother, Christina D’Allesandro, reached out to Marvel through their general email. Despite all of the requests that Marvel gets as one of the world’s most prominent entertainment companies with a library of over 8,000 characters, they didn’t take her request lightly.
Bill Rosemann, a Marvel editor, took special notice. He artist Manny Mederos and Trades Department Editor Nelson Ribeiro, sent the D’Allesandro family comic book covers featuring their very own versions of honorary Avenger Blue Ear, inspired by Anthony. Then, Mederos did a team up sketch between Blue Ear and Hawkeye, who suffered hearing loss as an Avenger. This started the life and adventures of Blue Ear, who’s now an official Marvel character and stars in his own one-shot (for now) comic book.
While Marvel works to support as many people as possible, they’d never done it in exactly this way before. For example, Tim mentioned Marvel’s character, Captain Citrus, in support of Florida orange growers and to encourage a healthier diet for children.
Weesie Pals are custom stuffed animals that can be made to have a little ear and stuffed toy bone anchored hearing device. Weesie Pals are created by Erin Wozniak who was inspired by her daughter Elyse. Elyse, who’s nickname is Weesie, was born with left-side Microtia and Atresia, meaning her ear did not fully develop. Elyse, now two years old, wears a Ponto Pro on a softband.
“When Elyse was an infant, I wanted her to have some type of toy that she could identify with and a way to reinforce her wearing the Bone Anchored Hearing System (BAHS). Also, you can take the device off of the stuffed animal and put it on anything– even someone else. Even mommy can wear it!”
When Erin made the first Weesie Pal, a mouse, Elyse loved it and wouldn’t put it down. As an artist and art teacher, Erin is always making things but oil painting and drawing are her expertise. When it came to sewing, she taught herself. She’s a quick study, because now there are a variety of options.
Today, we would like to share a special story. After years of confusion and frustration, Camilla was able to connect with peers and mentors–including our friend Justin Bays–who helped lead her to the hearing device that’s right for her– all thanks to the incredible efforts of Ear Community.
Camilla was Ear Community’s very first college scholarship recipient. Camilla is now working on her graduate degree, and she’s a wonderful single mom too! Camilla’s family are long-time supporters of Ear Community. Camilla is also a member of the Hearing Loss Association of America (HLAA).