NIXA, MO (11/16/17) - Being deaf can be challenging. But being hard of hearing is a little easier when it’s with your sister.
At the age of 2, Samantha was having problems talking. And at 4-years-old her sister, Emma, was having issues with hearing.
“It is sometimes difficult whenever I’m in the cafeteria eating lunch with my friends. It’s hard for me to hear them so I just say a word and then sometimes my friends just yell at me," says Samantha. "But, it’s okay because they are trying to have me hear them.”
To make things easier, Samantha has an interprater that helps her during her day. But the feeling of being held back in school can be hurtful.
“It’s daily. It’s just a daily part of our lives," says Emma.
And dealing with kids asking what their hearing aids are has the sisters using their best remedy, just laughing it off.
Emma explains that, “Everyone asks me the same two questions, ‘What are those and what do they do?’”
But the sisters aren’t alone. Their teachers say there’s nothing Samantha and Emma can’t do. Proving that their eyes are their ears.
“There’s nothing that can stop that girl. She has high aspirations and big goals," says Samantha's fourth grade teacher Aimee Tinsley.
And to reach those goals, Samantha’s teacher uses a special tool in the classroom to help her hear.
About 2 to 3 children out of 1,000 children in the United States will experience some sort of hearing loss in both ears. Now, with the FM System Samantha is able to hear her teacher and her classmates. Although she still experiences some challenges.
Sometimes, Samantha says, the FM System can make everything really loud for her. Making it hard to concentrate. But, that’s why she uses her sight to fill in the words she can’t hear.
“If it’s really loud I try to read their lips the best I can," says Samantha.
As for Emma, her teacher says sometimes reading lips isn’t always helpful for her. And that’s why she uses another tool!
“She’s great about reminding me that she needs closed captioning," says Emma's sixth grade teacher Emily Kellis. "She’s great!”
And the sisters agree! “Oh yeah, closed captioning is a lot easier for us!”
Sisters that have proven just how tough they are, still feel like they have so much more to give.
Emma wants to be an architect. She says, "My mom thinks I’m pretty good at designing things.”
And Samantha is thinking along the lines of something she’s all too familiar with. "Maybe a sign language interpreter. I do know a lot of sign language," says Samantha.
With an endless amount of possibilities, Samantha and Emma are proving that even though their eyes are their ears, nothing can stop them.