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The Same Wavelength: Mandy and Emily Taylor

By Molly Kauffman, staff writer

Mandy Taylor was born with a hereditary moderate-profound sensorineural hearing loss in both ears. Because she was adopted and had no relationship with her biological father, her hearing loss wasn't discovered until around the age of 2 when her mother noticed she wasn't responding to her voice unless she could see her. She grew up with the help of hearing aids and an auditory trainer, which brought about a lot of insecurities throughout her teenage life. After years of struggling to keep up in school while not utilizing hearing aids consistently, she dropped out of school at 18 and had her first child three years later. Her daughter failed her newborn hearing test and was fitted for hearing aids shortly after. This motivated Mandy to not only set a better example by wearing her own hearing aids more frequently, but motivated her to work with her audiologist who found a clinical trial with an implant called Esteem. The implant, she says, changed her life. It inspired her to go back to school and gave her the confidence to share her experiences with her own children and the kids she works with as an elementary school teaching assistant.

Emily, her middle child, is 14 years old and like her older sister, also failed her newborn hearing test. She was diagnosed with a mild-moderate hearing loss in both ears, and picked out her first pair of lime green hearing aids when she was just 4. She wore her hearing aids with pride until she was about 5 years old when she was diagnosed with Chronic Migraines and Cyclic Vomiting Syndrome, a condition that causes severe stomach pains and excessive vomiting. Because noise is a big trigger for her, school was a frequent cause of migraines and CVS episodes. After missing 40+ days of school each year, Emily's illnesses led her to participate in a medically prescribed homeschool program to which she is currently finishing out 9th grade in.

Mandy reflects a lot on the strength that Emily possesses despite her hearing loss and obstacles that come with it. She aspires to go to college to become a paramedic or flight nurse, and plans to join her father as a volunteer firefighter as soon as she turns 16. Emily is a strong believer in equal rights for all, especially those with disabilities; she's become an advocate and strives to educate and promote awareness.

Even at the age of 14, she is extremely strong in all of her beliefs, doesn't care what others think of her, and as Mandy says "flat out refuses to dwell on negativity and always seeks out the positives (and often the humor) in unpleasant situations". She is a spunky and outgoing girl and has a huge love for music and books. Her favorite quote by Peggy Carter sums her up perfectly: "I know my value. Anyone else's opinion doesn't really matter."

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