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Each May, Better Hearing & Speech Month (BHSM) is an annual event promoted by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) to raise awareness about communication disorders. For 2019, their theme is “Communication Across the Lifespan.”. We hope this inspiring story of the local rising baseball star Danton Hyman will inspire you to take care of your hearing health this month.
Local boy fights obstacles to become college baseball star
Danton Hyman is Newberry’s first-ever South Atlantic Conference Player of the Year.
Managing to score 176 runs (which was the second-most in Newberry history), he has recorded 266 hits and stolen 63 in his college career. These are the most among any currently active NCAA Division II player. This season, Hyman’s 85 hits are the most by any college player currently playing in the US, regardless of division. He’s the most important player of the SAC champs, a team ranked in the Division II’s top 10 since the beginning of April.
“He’s one of the best players in the nation,” fellow teammate Zane Tarrance claims. The praise doesn’t stop with his teammates. According to Newberry head coach Russell Triplett, He is someone who has that “unique ability to allow people around him to play at a higher level than they’re capable of.”.
What people don’t mention as much the fact that he has hearing loss, and has been wearing hearing aids since he was an infant.
Danton Hyman has had about 30% hearing in both ears since the age of 2. Back then, new-born screenings for hearing loss weren’t mandatory, so his parents didn’t discover anything was wrong until a report from the day-care center mentioned that he didn’t always respond to his name being called. It transpired that the partial hearing loss came from the father’s side.
Now a celebrated local college baseball star, his work extends far beyond the baseball field. As his mother is an elementary school teacher at the school he went to, he often gives talks there to students, inspiring others to do their best and follow their dreams.
Recently, a fifth-grade girl there was struggling to summon the confidence to wear her hearing aids. The girl, normally shy and unwilling to talk to most people, saw common ground with Danton and opened up about her difficulties to him.
“She was going through a stage where she was maturing, she’s growing up, she’s about to go into middle school,” Danton said. “She came and she wouldn’t wear her hearing aids. She’s scared people will judge her when she puts them in her ears. And I kind of basically told her, ‘When you wear your hair down, nobody can see them. Nobody will even know.’ … You gotta put it in perspective the way they will feel comfortable. And that’s the thing. I’ve been around it for so long, I’m cool with it.”.
Danton’s mother has confirmed that his encouraging words have had the desired effect: “She wears her hearing aids now,” She said. “I’ll pass her in the hall and I’ll say, ‘Good for you!’”
A bright future with hearing aids
Hyman is unsure of how long he will be playing baseball. For now, he is content to play for the fun of it as he continues to study for his accounting degree. If a there is a chance to go professional, he might explore it. But he knows one thing for sure. The challenges to succeed as a person with hearing loss will always be there, and as long as he is wearing his hearing aids, he will always be up to the task.
Hearing Health at Elevate Audiology
Hearing loss is a communication disorder and can have a far-reaching consequence on an individuals mental and physical health, leading to a reduction in their quality of life. Wearing hearing aids can have a positive effect on spoken communication and maintaining relationships with friends, family and loved ones. Despite these benefits, it often takes ten years before an individual seeks treatment. This May, why not celebrate Better Speech and Hearing Month with us at Elevate Audiology? Don’t let the threat of hearing loss undermine the connections you have built have with those you love. Schedule a consultation with Elevate Audiology today.