American Idol’s Angie Miller Prepares for the New England Walk4Hearing

We can’t wait to see our official spokesperson, Angie Miller, at the New England Walk4Hearing on October 27 in Brighton, MA. To prepare for the event, we recently spoke with Angie about why she became involved in the Walk and what she has learned from having hearing loss.

Q: You have 40 percent hearing loss in one ear and 20 percent in the other. How has that affected you in your daily life? How have you coped with having hearing loss?
A: Having hearing loss definitely is noticeable in my life. If you ask any of my close friends or family, they would tell you that I say “what?” a lot! At a young age I learned how to lip read, and became really use to my lack of hearing.

Q: How were you able to become such a fantastic singer, despite having hearing loss?
A: About a year and a half ago I found out that 75% of my left ear drum was gone due to an untreated ear infection. During that time, my ears where doing lots of weird things, and some days my hearing would be distorted or muffled. This was right before my audition for American Idol and it was definitely scary. Through all my changes in hearing, I had to stay focused and learn how to work with my increase of hearing loss.

Q: Did you ever worry that your hearing loss would prevent you from being successful on American Idol?
A: I will never let my hearing loss prevent me from singing. Yes, it is scary and honestly annoying at times, but I never let it bother me.

Q: What was your favorite American Idol moment?
A: My favorite Idol moment has always been when I sang my original song “You Set Me Free” during Hollywood week. It was a great way of showing America who I am as an artist early in the competition.

Q: Why did you decide to become the spokesperson for the 2013 New England Walk4Hearing? Why is this cause important to you?
A: If I let my hearing loss bother me, I would not have made it as far as I did in the competition. I wanted to be the spokesperson to let people know that nothing has to stop you from dreaming big.

Q: What’s your advice to hearing-impaired kids and teens who have big dreams?
A: Hearing loss can only get in your way if you let it. Don’t let it. Fight past it and never give up on your biggest dreams!

Angie Miller

Jam’n 94.5′s Santi Deoleo Discusses New England Walk4Hearing

The 2013 New England Walk4Hearing is less than one month away, and we’re definitely looking forward to the big day. We recently spoke to Santi Deoleo–co-host and executive producer of the Jam’n 94.5 morning show Ramiro’s House and co-host of the Walk–about what he is most looking forward to, as well as why he chose to support our cause.

Q: Why did you decide to get involved with the New England Walk4Hearing?
A: As a father of three I can’t imagine the struggles that children with hearing loss endure along with their parents. I wanted to use my influence to increase awareness about hearing loss.

Q: I know you’re interested in captioned radio. Can you explain how (or if) you think it could impact the industry, as well as people with hearing loss?
A: Yes, I think radio is one of the least accessible forms of media for people with hearing loss. I would love to see further developments and services–for example, being able to download our podcasts and follow along.

Q: You were the host of the New England Walk4Hearing Kickoff event in September. What were your first impressions of the hearing loss community? Did it change your feelings on hearing loss and its impacts?
A: The Kickoff event in September was a new experience for me. I have not been involved in the hearing loss community previously and I walked away from the event feeling inspired. Everyone I met was very positive and the tight-knit community was amazing! I got to hear a lot of stories from families and the impact their lives have had due to hearing loss.

Q: As co-host and executive producer of the Jam’n 94.5 morning show Ramiro’s House, much of your career revolves around the ability to hear. How do you think your life would be different if you suffered from hearing loss?
A: I am sure if I had hearing loss at a young age I would be on a different path as an adult due to the fact that radio is not a very accessible form of media for people with hearing loss. It makes me realize that there needs to be a lot of changes in our industry so that people who have hearing loss can thrive in this industry.

Q: What are you most looking forward to at the Walk on Oct. 27?
A: I can’t wait to meet even more inspiring people and hear their amazing stories!

Q: What is the best way for people to support the New England Walk4Hearing?
A: People should go to the website and donate to a team. Hopefully next year some of these people donating will think about creating their own team to walk.

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Can Exercise Lead to Better Hearing?

Exercise comes with many benefits—it can help you lose weight, boost your confidence, relieve stress, and even prevent depression. But according to research from Bellarmine University, working out might also lead to better hearing, particularly in women.

Dr. Paul Loprinzi, an assistant professor of exercise science at Bellarmine, studied how cardiovascular and aerobic activities affected 1,082 adult women. In doing so, he found that women who had better cardiorespiratory fitness levels also had better hearing function at both high and low frequencies. At the same time, women who had better aerobic fitness levels were 6 percent more likely to have good hearing than their peers.

While there is still no firm conclusion on the link between exercise and hearing loss, past research shows that for people who are at risk of developing diabetes, exercise can be especially crucial when it comes to preventing hearing loss. People with diabetes are more than twice as likely to have hearing loss, and since exercising is one of the best ways to prevent Type 2 diabetes, exercise can, in a way, prevent hearing loss.

And of course, a great way to get some exercise (and help fight hearing loss) is to attend our annual New England Walk4Hearing on Oct. 27 in Artesani Park, Brighton, MA.

American Idol’s Angie Miller Becomes New England Walk4Hearing Spokesperson

We are very excited to announce that American Idol Season 12 finalist Angie Miller is the spokesperson for the 7th annual New England Walk4Hearing. A Beverly, Mass. resident, Angie has 40 percent hearing loss in her left ear and 20 percent hearing loss in her right ear. However, this didn’t stop the teen from wowing American Idol judges since she first auditioned with Jessie J.’s “Mamma Knows Best.”

Join Angie Miller on October 27 at Artesani Park in Brighton to step up for the 48 million Americans with hearing loss! Register your team today at www.walk4hearing.org.

And don’t forget to RSVP for the New England Walk4Hearing Family Picnic Kick-Off Event, which will take place Sept. 15, 2013 at Gore Place in Waltham from 12-3 p.m. The event will be hosted by Santi DeOleo, co-host of Jam’n 94.5 morning show “Ramiro’s House.” RSVP by Sept. 6, 2013 to join in on the fun!

Angie Miller

 

I’m Me and That’s OK: The Story of an 11-Year-Old With Hearing Loss

Today, about 36 million Americans have some degree of hearing loss. However, for those who have never experienced what it’s like to live with this condition, the wide spectrum of effects hearing loss can have on daily life can be hard to comprehend. 

Anna Bella D’Amico, an 11-year-old with hearing loss, recently wrote to us about how hearing loss has changed her life, and how she refuses to let it stop her from being an exceptional student and athlete.

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Hi, my name is Anna Bella D’Amico. I was diagnosed at 4 years old with a bilateral hearing loss, and it has since changed my life. When I was born, I failed my infant hearing test and was scheduled to take another at two weeks old. When I did, I passed in both ears. My parents never took it into consideration that I have a hearing loss. Shortly before my fourth birthday, I told my mom that I don’t always hear things people are saying. She scheduled an appointment with audiologist, Dr. Janie Barnet, only to find out that I have a bilateral hearing loss and could not hear below 55 decibels. My mother bought me my first pair of hearing aids in July of 2006. My first pair was from Widex, but now I wear a Phonak Ambra MicroP. I was just starting kindergarten the fall after I received my hearing aids. I was terrified, yet excited. I was terrified about starting a new school and what the kids would  think of me, yet excited that I was about to face a new chapter of my life head on. I knew that I would get a lot of questions asked of me like, “What are those things for?” and “Why do you need them?”

Kindergarten was amazing. I used an FM willingly and had to go to speech three times a week. I made good friends whom I would later catch up with again. Even though I was impaired, I was one of the smartest kids in my class. My kindergarten teacher recommended that I be tested for the gifted and talented program. My mom took her advice. I ended up getting 93 percent out of 100 and made the program. That fall, I started first grade at a public school in the G and T class (gifted and talented).

First grade was amazing; a lot like kindergarten, but I finally felt I was being challenged by the work. I then continued on to second and third grade. As I got to the third grade, I felt some of my friendships go downhill. Kids got meaner and I felt lonely. I turned to the friends whom I knew would accept me, flaws and all. Those friends got me through grade school. I had a thick skin, so throughout third grade the hurtful words bounced off of me. However, when I got to fourth grade the words got meaner. Once again, I turned to my friends, but this time I couldn’t let these comments go. This time my parents got involved. The comments stopped, but not for long. They continued to the point where my self-esteem kept dropping. I knew the cause. They were jealous of the attention I got. I didn’t ask for this attention, but I attracted it.

Finally, fourth grade was over and I prayed that they matured over the summer. I was somewhat lucky – a couple of them realized what they were doing was immature and they stopped. In fifth grade, it was a repeat of third and fourth grade, only this time with an adult thrown in there as well. This time I handled the problem by talking to a therapist, my principal, and again, my parents. As the school year drew to a close, I found friends in other grades and classes. I also became closer to my friends outside of school. I have now graduated fifth grade and realized that my flaws would only be accepted by my family and true friends. I’ve learned that what happened in grade school would soon be a blur compared to the new adventures I was about to take. What I learned from elementary school had nothing to do with math, or reading or writing – I learned that nothing anyone says defines me, as long as I don’t let it. That was my biggest lesson. Hearing loss is the thing that I control, it doesn’t control me. If my hearing loss is the thing that is blocking me from reaching any goal, it only makes me try harder.

I am a soccer player. It is my passion. When I first started playing, my parents and I were a little nervous about me playing. I took the risk of damaging my hearing aids. Now, after playing for five or six years, I learned that it was so worth it. When my mom and I are at hearing loss events, and I see all these people hiding behind their hearing loss I wonder why they’re embarrassed. They’re raising awareness for hearing loss, yet how can they do that if they don’t embrace their own challenges. I commend the small group of people who do accept their hearing loss, because they truly understand that you control you, not anyone, or anything.

Prenatal Smoking Could Cause Hearing Loss in Adolescents

In the past, studies have shown that smoking while pregnant can lead to negative consequences like premature birth and low weight or asthma in children. Now, a new study published in the journal “JAMA Otolaryngology” shows that prenatal smoking can also lead to hearing loss in adolescents, USA Today reports.

After analyzing 964 children between the ages of 12 and 15, researchers found that about 16 percent of parents confirmed their kids were exposed to prenatal smoke. These children were about three times more likely to have mild hearing loss than their peers who were not exposed to smoke before birth.

Interestingly, researchers found that most of these mothers said they quit smoking in the first trimester, which shows that even brief encounters with smoke can have large effects on children.

Oftentimes, while these adolescents’ hearing loss was mild, it led to other negative results. For example, if children and teens think they cannot properly communicate with their peers, they may feel lonely, isolated or frustrated, the World Health Organization states. This, in turn, can cause behavioral, social and academic problems as children get older.

“Data suggested, whether it’s primary or secondary exposure, [prenatal smoking] has detrimental consequences to the auditory system and that damage, though sometimes mild, can have lots of negative effects for the child,” Anil Lalwani, a contributor to the study and vice chairman for research at Columbia University, told USA Today.

Fresh Veggies from the Gore Place Farm Stand Create Healthy Walkers!

Many of our walkers already known that our Kickoff event will be held Sunday, Sept. 15, 2013 at the gorgeous Gore Place in Waltham, Mass. However, before the fall rolls around, we encourage our walkers to check out the historic estate’s Farm Stand, where you’ll find fresh vegetables grown right on Gore Place’s farm.

This week, the Farm Stand will be selling broccoli, cauliflower and, by Friday, summer squash. Select cuts of pork will also be available (ring the bell for service).

The Farm Stand is open Wednesday through Saturday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Remember – a healthy diet makes healthy walkers. With all of these delicious and nutritious veggies in your belly, we can’t wait to see how much energy you’ll bring to the Walk on Oct. 27!

For questions or comments on the Gore Place Farm Stand, email Farmer Scott at farmer@goreplace.org.

Photo provided by GorePlace.org

Photo by GorePlace.org

 

New Technology Helps 3-Year-Old Hear for the First Time

With the advent of new technology, children like 3-year-old Grayson Clamp no longer need to know what it’s like to live without hearing. Using an experimental electrical implant to stimulate his brain, Grayson was recently able to hear the sound of his father’s voice for the very first time, ABC reports.

“Daddy loves you,” his father, Len Clamp said, as Grayson stared at him, wide-eyed.

“I’ve never seen a look like that today,” Clamp told ABC. “He looked deep into my eyes. He was hearing my voice for the first time. It was phenomenal.”

Grayson received his implant at the University of North Carolina Hospitals as part of a clinical trial by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. At the Hospitals, doctors hope they can help other children hear when they have no other options for doing so.

Still, 3-year-old Grayson is not the only one who has benefited from modern technology. Last summer, 23-year-old filmmaker Austin Chapman was able to hear music for the first time with the help of new and improved Phonak hearing aids, The Associated Press reports. These tiny devices are far more powerful than the 4-year-old hearing aids Chapman was using before, and are particularly good at picking up higher pitched sounds, allowing him to experience a world full of music.

As he blared everything from Mozart’s “Lacrimosa” to Radiohead, tears of joy rolled down Chapman’s face.

“It’s like the first time you kiss a girl,” he told the AP. “It’s like that.”

Information Session Cancelled

We have decided to cancel the information session on June 22 so we can focus all of our efforts on the upcoming Walk and Kickoff.

2013 Kickoff:
Sunday, September 15 (12 p.m. to 3 p.m.)
Gore Place
52 Gore St.
Waltham, MA 02453

Please RSVP for the Kickoff by September 6 by emailing Peggy Ellertsen at nekickoff@gmail.com or calling 347-731-1883.

2013 New England Walk4Hearing:
Sunday, October 27 (Registration – 10 a.m., Check-in – 11 a.m.)
Artesani Park
1234 Soldiers Field Rd.
Brighton, MA 02135

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact our Walk Chair, Kim LaBrecque at tiashaycameron@comcast.net. Thank you for your flexibility, and we hope to see you at the Walk!

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