Hearing-impaired boy helps others

By Harry Jackson Jr.

St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Published: Monday, Sept. 19 2011 10:00 p.m. MDT

"Hearing out of two ears is better than one," Cadieux said. "One is enough for spoken language, but it doesn't allow you to localize sound and focus on sounds; it's difficult to detect locations, especially with background noise.

"That can mean more social isolation."

An implant isn't the quality of normal hearing, Cadieux said, although companies are developing better devices. So two devices were needed for David to compete academically.

Cadieux said part of her job is counseling young people about coping with life with implants. Young people can develop problems with self-esteem, confidence and withdrawal, she said.

That wasn't David.

While he wears a headset that looks like hi-tech earbuds, he doesn't consider them an impediment. "They're a blessing; I'm able to do what I'm supposed to be doing," he said.

Since the second implant:

He became an Eagle Scout.

He graduated high school with honors.

He became an avid writer, starting with poetry, then his own biography.

For his Eagle Scout project he created DeafTeens.org, a blog and forum.

He created SilentMomentsMyStory.blogspot.com, the story of his life and challenges.

He counsels children at Children's Hospital about what to expect from implants.

"That's special," Cadieux said. "The children can talk to someone who has actually been there."

"I can connect from two worlds," David said.

Having graduated from Liahona Academy, he plans to attend Brigham Young University after he completes his two-year mission — a right of passage for his faith.

By the time he returns from his missionary service, he said, he will have figured out what he wants to do with his life. Most likely he'll be a counselor or motivational speaker, he said.

Meanwhile, he dates and goes places teens go.

Even here he finds the implants helpful. An avid fan of religious music, he now and then finds himself at secular concerts.

"When the band gets too loud, I can take (the hearing devices) off," he said.

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