Take some time to reminisce with us as we look back at the top hearing loss stories of 2019!
Of all the hearing loss stories this year, this one tops the list. When Pixar Animation Studios released “Toy Story 4” this past summer, our community was thrilled to see that a child in the movie was wearing a cochlear implant.
The last time we saw hearing technology featured in a Pixar animated movie was in the movie “UP.” Showing the cochlear implant is a reminder that representation is important in all media, including animations.
Phonak released new hearing aids this year, one being the Phonak Audeo Marvel. One of the top features of these new hearing aids is that they can connect directly to Bluetooth allowing you to stream audio, music, podcasts and more, straight from your device to your hearing aids.
HLM writer Pete talks about how these hearing aids change the way he hears in the office, at a noisy restaurant, and on the dance floor. Before his hearing aids, he was running into daily frustrations with hearing his son. Once he received his new hearing aids his confidence grew and he felt included in all that he was missing before.
You may know Lauren Ridloff from the Broadway play “Children of a Lesser God,” but this year news broke that Ridloff would be playing the first deaf superhero, Makkari, in the film “The Eternals.”
“I think right now Hollywood is ready to hear stories from people that have been marginalized for a very long time,” Ridloff says in a NowThis video. “However, I would say we are are in a learning phase where we’re learning what each actor needs as part of a whole community and as individual actors.”
The film doesn’t come out until November 2020, which we have marked on our calendars.
Media should be accessible to all people. This includes social media! This year public figures such as U.S. politician Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez started captioning their Instagram stories using an app called Clipomatic. Since then more public figures and influencers are beginning to use captions. We look forward to continuing to see captions become added more frequent to social media posts.
It is common for children with mild-moderate hearing loss to not receive the accommodations they need in the classroom. This is because as someone with mild-moderate hearing loss, you don’t always know the information that you are missing. Children especially may not be able to communicate that they are missing information, simply because they don’t know exactly what they are missing. It is important that accommodations are all included in an Individualized Education Program (IEP) plan to give children with mild-moderate hearing loss the help they need to learn in a classroom.
As technology improves, there are more accessibility options for deaf and hard of hearing people. Hyundai Motor Group is a company working on car features for deaf people. The artificial intelligence that they are using will identify sounds outside the car and then visually communicate to the driver what is going on. Although this technology was being tested this year, we can’t wait for it to be available for all people to use.
Maelyn Jarmon, the winner season 16 winner of “The Voice,” is deaf in one ear.
Throughout the season she talked about her struggles being in music with hearing loss. Although there were challenges, there were also many rewards after overcoming these challenges.
“Being deaf in one ear, the most overwhelming interaction that I’ve had with fans are people who have hearing impairments,” she tearfully said on the show. “I was so taken aback by that.”
Although deaf awareness has passed, we can continue to spread awareness into the new year. HLM writer Ashley suggests learning sign language, supporting deaf businesses and advocating and promoting deaf people as one-of-a-kind.
What will you do to spread deaf awareness in 2020?
Keith Nolan has a goal in life, which is to serve in the military. The only thing stopping him? The US military doesn’t allow deaf people to serve. Through research and advocating Nolan is working to change the rule that deaf people aren’t allowed to serve in the military.
“Your life and fellow service members’ lives are on the line, and that is a valid reason why people might be quick to respond why they think deaf people cannot be in the military,” Nolan says. “It was the same with women and other minorities.”
Nolan continues to spread awareness politically about why deaf people can serve in the military and he teaches a cadet program at Maryland School for the Deaf.
Are you interested in learning sign language? Whether you aim to be fluent, use the language to supplement another language or you want to learn some basic signs, there are different ways to get started on learning sign language.
You can take a class, use an app, watch online videos, visit a deaf cafe, ask your Deaf friends to teach you and many other options to kickstart the learning process.
Do you have any other memorable hearing loss stories of 2019? Let us know!