The Seeing and Feeling of Sound

    by geraldine donaher

I've watched a tale of resilience unfold over the past thirty years.  Jill Smink is a Philadelphia native (Northeast section of the city) and, I'm proud to say, my niece. Diagnosed at 2 years old with a bilateral severe-to-profound hearing loss, I've watched Jill overcome hardships to become a successful, independent woman.  From what I've learned, it's Jill's ability to see and feel that she 'hears'.

 

"I mishear things all the time; grade school was the start of learning to deal with the embarrassment of misunderstanding.  In high school, my friends and I would drive around at night listening to music. In the dark car, the music on high with a booming bass, it was impossible for me to follow conversations.  I thought I was shy and boring.  I didn't realize yet that it was my situation that evoked this behavior."

 

It was in college that Jill learned she was not shy or boring. Creating friendships with hearing and deaf individuals, she made the most of her RIT experience as a Biology major and "never considered my deafness as something that separated me from others."

 

Today, Jill works for the United States EPA in Washington, D.C. Recent developments with teleworking pose new challenges for the hearing impaired.  Jill's not concerned though, "As with any new environment, you learn to adapt and find ways that will work for you."

 

And isn't that what resilience is all about?

 

Click here to read more on how Jill was able to overcome hardships and become a successful woman.

 

Connect to www.listeningandspokenlanguage.org  - The Alexander Graham Bell Association that supports children with hearing impairment.

 

Connect to www.starkeyhearingfoundation.org - An international foundation that provides hearing aids to disadvantaged children.