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Day Two - What's It Like to Be a Student That Is Deaf or Hard of Hearing?

Cody and Travis Philpott

Did you know? 

The best way to understand someone else's experience is to simply ask them. We are happy to include this interview with Cody Philpott and his brother Travis. Cody is a student at Merriam Elementary School. Thank you, Cody, for sharing your experience!  

Q: Tell us your name, how old you are, and what grade?

A: I am Cody Philpott and am 11 years old and in 5th grade at Merriam Elementary School in Acton, Massachusetts.


Q: What type of hearing loss do you have?

A: I was born with a cleft of my soft palate and have conductive hearing loss.


Q: Do you wear hearing aids or have a cochlear implant? What color are your earmolds?

A: I have worn a hearing aid in my right ear since Kindergarten.  My hearing aid is now red and I just got fitted for a new mold that is yellow and blue with the AB (Acton Boxborough) Hockey logo in it!  I love getting to pick new designs every 6 months.


Q: Do you use American Sign Language (ASL)?

A: No, I do not use ASL in my daily life.  I have done Open Door Theater the last two years and have learned some ASL through this.  I will be signing a song in the upcoming Little Mermaid performance at the end of the month.  Come watch! 


Q: What does your school do to help assist with your hearing loss?

A: There is a FM System in my classroom.  My teacher wears a microphone around her neck that connects to a speaker set up behind me in the classroom to project her voice.  My friends say the speaker helps them as well because my teacher’s voice is clear and loud.  It is my responsibility to make sure the FM System is charged.  Next year I will get an FM System that goes right to my hearing aid.


Q: Do you play sports or have any hobbies?

A: I love sports!  I play Strikers Soccer and Hockey and Lacrosse for AB (Acton Boxborough).  I also ski and just learned to snowboard.  And, I am in the Little Mermaid Open Door Theater performance at the end of the month at RJ Grey Junior High.


Q: What do you want younger kids that are deaf or hard of hearing to know about growing up with hearing loss?

A: Hearing loss does not define me but it is part of who I am.  My hearing aid helps me hear just like glasses help people see better.   


Q: What do you wish your friends knew about your hearing loss?

A: I wish my friends knew that I cannot always hear them.  I am not ignoring them, I just cannot hear sometimes, especially my right ear when there is a lot of background noise. 


Q: Your brother Travis has been a supporter of Stink Week as well, correct?

A: Yes, my brother Trav actually wore his Stink Week shirt last year until the end of the school year.  He is committed to raising a stink for hearing loss.


Q: Travis, what do you want people to know about your brother Cody?

A: I want people to know that Cody is no different, he just cannot hear as well.


Q: Cody and Travis, why is Stink Week important to you?

A: Travis:  I want to help raise a stink about hearing loss

Cody:  I think it is important for people to understand what it is like to have hearing loss.  My first Stink week, in Kindergarten, we had a challenge and the class all used ear plugs.  It was great for my friends to experience what it is like for me as that is how I always hear. I think it is important for people to understand what hearing loss means and that it does not define me.

In The Media

Watch this video that shows an example of what it's like to hear with varying levels of hearing loss.

Today's Challenge

Think about and discuss the following questions. 

Think about a time when you were included in something (at school, in sports/activities, with friends). How did it make you feel? 

Think about a time when you were excluded. How did that make you feel? 

When communicating with someone who is deaf or hard of hearing, how can you make an effort to ensure he or she feels included in the conversation? 

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