Hi, my name is Will Mellon and I wanted to share a little bit about my experience growing up with hearing loss. I was born profoundly deaf in 1992 to two hearing parents. Unfortunately, my hearing loss was not diagnosed until I was a year old. At the time I was born, it was not mandatory to do newborn hearing screenings, so many children who had hearing loss were not diagnosed at birth. It wasn’t until roughly 1999 that most states in the US required newborn hearing screenings. Luckily, being the youngest of four, my parents noticed that I was not developing spoken language like my older siblings. When they took me to a doctor, I was diagnosed with a profound hearing loss bilaterally.
My parents had to make a difficult choice between a more typical deaf experience with sign language or a newly emerging technology called a cochlear implant that could give a profoundly deaf child access to sound. Cochlear implants had only been developed and approved by the FDA a few years before my birth, and research was still underway on their effectiveness as an intervention. The early research was hopeful and showed good indications that with rigorous intervention after the surgery, the device could give children access to the world of sound.
I received my first cochlear implant when I was two, being the youngest child implanted with the device at John Hopkins University Hospital at the time. With many years of speech therapy and audiological testing, I was able to use the cochlear implant to hear and develop oral language like any other typical hearing child. I could communicate with the rest of my family, and like my siblings, I went to mainstream schools, instead of specialized school programs focused on students with disabilities.
When I was sixteen, I received my second cochlear implant. With two devices, I was able to hear even better than before and had a much easier time locating where sound was coming from. After high school, I attended Skidmore College, a liberal arts college in New York with a challenging academic program paired with engaged professors. I had a fantastic time in college and graduated with honors as a double major in Psychology and History. Since then, I have worked full-time at Chattering Children as a research and clinical assistant in the audiology department. It has been a rewarding experience to give back and help children with hearing loss, just as speech and audiological professionals helped me when I was growing up. At Chattering Children, we have the same goal as the speech pathologists and audiologists when I was little: to help children with hearing loss succeed and flourish.
Chattering Children wants you to learn about our clinicians, useful tips, projects and opportunities for our community to support each other and children with hearing loss.
All of us at Chattering Children wish you an your family the very best in 2018!
Gloria Menezes-Furtado, M.E.D., LSLS Cert AVT
Gloria holds a Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in English Literature, as well as a Master’s of Education of the Deaf. She is a certified Auditory-Verbal Therapist and holds certification as a Teacher of the Deaf. She has worked with children and their families for more than fourteen years. Her experiences include supporting mainstream students with hearing loss in areas of language and academics, as well as individualized instruction in speech and auditory skills. Gloria has become a mentor to others in the field because of her expertise in the Auditory-Verbal approach to therapy for deaf children. Her interests include integrating technology into intervention and using a whole-child approach, and working with children with additional disabilities.
William Mellon, B.A.
Will Mellon is a research and clinical assistant at Chattering Children. Will holds a BA from Skidmore College in psychology and history. He assists the Chattering Children audiologists with clinical operations and research involving children with hearing loss. Will is a bilateral cochlear implant user who received his first CI at age two.
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Start the Year Off Right with a Gift to Chattering Children
Did you know Chattering Children is a non-profit and your donation helps children with hearing loss and their families? Your support can help us purchase upgraded audiology equipment, support early invention programs and ensure that we can continue to help all families regardless of their ability to pay.
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Shop on Etsy and Support Chattering Children
You will find fun t-shirts and other items at TiedToHome an Etsy shop run by a parent of two Chattering Children clients. A portion of the proceeds is donated to Chattering Children.
Check out the cute t-shirts for children and adults!
Noisy Toys are a No-no!
Some toys are so noisy that they can cause additional hearing loss or can be painful for your little one to hear. Check out the Sight & Hearing Association’s Noisy Toys List of 2017 shown below. It lists popular toys with their targeted ages and measure of decibels each toy emits.
Most of these toys fall in the red zone on the Audiogram of Familiar Sounds, which can be as loud as an airplane jet or semi-truck. Try to avoid these toys or keep the batteries out! Another trick is to cover the speaker holes with clear packing tape to reduce the sound.