A Look into Myles Hunt: The Story of a Deaf Creative’
Myles Hunt is a visual artist, and now an author of a very fun and colorful children’s book, J.W. The Deaf Drummer. The style of the book expresses his love of the abstract, music, and ties in aspects of his own journey with hearing loss.
Myles was born in Buffalo, New York, and at birth, he needed a tracheal-esophageal fistula repair. As he grew up, he had some hearing loss, but at the time people did not believe this—he was the only one in his family with hearing loss. When a doctor finally did confirm his hearing loss, the only theory he had for it was that possibly medicine used during his tracheal-esophageal fistula repair could have caused it. To this day, he wears hearing aids for both ears, and while primarily oral, he does also rely on lip-leading.
Throughout his childhood, he was dependent on his school’s hearing resources department. He was even fortunate enough to be able to have speech therapy, and had those who taught him how to advocate for himself and his needs. He was rather shy as a child, and learning to stand up for himself when it came to his hearing loss was a big step. He had fellow deaf and hard of hearing classmates, and the educators at his schools mades sure to teach in ways that encompassed everyone’s needs, but socially it was still difficult while young to have his hearing peers understand his need to lipread and what it meant to be hard of hearing.
His fellow deaf/HOH peers, as well as a close group of hearing friends that even learned how to lipread to better understand him, really inspired him, and taught him that there are others out there that share his “plights,” and those who would take the time to understand them. This sense of community gave him a feeling of acceptance and confidence. One of his old peers and friend, J.W. Guido, even inspired the main character of his children’s book with his “jovial, confident and compassionate” qualities. J.W. Guido is now the Artist Director of the New York Deaf Theater.
With his children’s book, J.W. The Deaf Drummer, published through sMyles Creative, he wants readers “to gain a sense of empathy and understanding that deafness/HOH are not disabilities but rather powerful abilities that aid individuals to progress in a whole manner of ways in their lives.” The main character, J.W., is a deaf musician traversing through a hearing world, but that’s not a roadblock to his dreams.
The characters from the book are also being explored for an animated series, Tune City. The show would also revolve around the character J.W. and music, but Myles hopes to bring in a lot more diversity in the show—including topics like LGBTQ+, BLM, immigration, and much more.