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December 15, 2002

Hearing-challenged group celebrates season

From: Norwich Bulletin, CT - 15 Dec 2002

Special to the Bulletin

ASHFORD -- Self Help for Hard of Hearing People celebrated the holiday season Saturday at a party in the Babcock Public Library.

Randy Kirsch, president of the Quiet Corner chapter, welcomed the group.

Kirsch lost his hearing about five years ago. Among the things he misses most is music.

"I used to listen to jazz CDs all the time. I love jazz and I miss it," he said.

Treasurer Sue Lewis said hearing impairment can occur for many reasons at different times in life. The reasons for hearing loss are varied as well, she said.

"Noise pollution is a major cause of hearing loss as are some antibiotics," Lewis said.

Nakesha Chase, 13, of Killingly, lost her hearing as a result of ambitious antibiotic treatment of meningitis when she was 11.

Sue Leone, a speech therapist at the Chase's school, said, "She's like a miracle, she almost died, was paralyzed on one side and has gone through physical therapy, but she is upbeat and involved all the time."

Tony Sycz, 12, and his sister, Aimee, 15, learned sign language in order to communicate with their father, who is completely deaf.

There are no arguments about music in the Sycz household because their dad likes the same music they do.

"He turns the bass way up and he can get the vibrations," Aimee said.

Jocelyn Clark, 8, was at the party with her grandmother, Pat Reilly. Jocelyn says she knows a little sign language, but her grandmother can hear a little out of one ear so Jocelyn can talk to her.

Reilly, who lost her hearing a year ago due to Meniere's disease, calls Jocelyn "my leaning post."

"One way the disease affects me is that I lose my balance. Jocelyn guides through the hallways of my building," Reilly said.

The Quiet Corner SHHH was formed in November 1998. It is a nonprofit tax-exempt corporation based in Ashford and consists of people with hearing difficulties sharing their methods of coping with their hearing difficulties and advocating for their rights.

The chapter is forming a junior version of Quiet Corner SHHH. Twin sisters Heather and Alicia Doyon, 16, and juniors at Woodstock Academy, are heading up the effort. Heather is interested in a career working with the hearing impaired.

To find out more about SHHH and the multiple services the group offers or for membership information, go to www.quietcornershhh. org or contact Kirsch at 659-8082 (TTY only) or e-mail the group at

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