A Superhero with Hearing Aids

Hearing impaired kids need good role models. Unfortunately, they have been difficult to find. In 1977, the first role model appeared when Lou Ferrigno was cast as The Incredible Hulk. Lou was born in Brooklyn and had a severe hearing loss diagnosed at age 3 years. At 13 he started body building and, as they say, the rest is history.  It was great for kids with hearing loss to see someone else with a hearing loss who was famous (even if being the Hulk is not my idea of a goal for life.)

 

Marvel comic – Blue Ear

Well, it has happened again. Marvel Comics has a new superhero who wears hearing aids. Actually, this is not the first time a Marvel Comics character had a hearing aid. In 1984 there was a character Hawkeye who used a hearing aid after his hearing was destroyed. A 4 year old boy from New Jersey was the inspiration for the current character. Anthony Smith was having problems wearing his hearing aids so his mom wrote to Marvel to request a copy of the old comic in the hopes that it would inspire Anthony to keep hearing aids on. Anthony’s mom, Christina D’Allesandro, explained to the people at Marvel Comics what the issue was and they were inspired to create Blue Ear, a superhero who wears hearing aids.

 

 

American Girl Doll

American Girl Dolls

This year, for the first time, and after years of requests from lots of families of kids with hearing loss, there will be a doll with hearing aids. How great that little girls who wear hearing aids can have a doll that looks like them!!

 

Disabilities being more visible

It is unfortunate that even today, when disabilities are more visible and more accepted, that children with disabilities try to hide their disabilities. Perhaps with more and more superheros, and more dolls with hearing aids and cochlear implants, our kids will feel like they belong.

About Jane Madell

Jane Madell has a consulting practice in pediatric audiology. She is an audiologist, speech-language pathologist, and LSLS auditory verbal therapist, with a BA from Emerson College and an MA and PhD from the University of Wisconsin. Her 45+ years experience ranges from Deaf Nursery programs to positions at the League for the Hard of Hearing (Director), Long Island College Hospital, Downstate Medical Center, Beth Israel Medical Center/New York Eye and Ear Infirmary as director of the Hearing and Learning Center and Cochlear Implant Center. Jane has taught at the University of Tennessee, Columbia University, Downstate Medical School, and Albert Einstein Medical School, published 5 books, and written numerous books chapters and journal articles, and is a well known international lecturer.