Most people have felt the fear of being ‘different’ at some point in their life. As adults, we learn that differences are often the parts of our lives or personalities that make us fun and interesting. As children, however, it can be hard to celebrate anything that has the potential to separate you from your peers. A recent article posted by Sarah Ivermee on the deaf news blog, The Limping Chicken, discusses how the fear of being perceived as different can impact children who use hearing devices, and how this lead her to create her own business.
In the article, Ivermee explains how raising her son Freddie, who is deaf and has used a hearing aid and a cochlear implant, has led her to be aware of this issue. While Freddie has not had many problems wearing his assistive devices, Ivermee has realized it is not the same with all deaf children. She states that most children, “Didn’t like the way [hearing devices] looked boring and plain, and unfortunately a lot were embarrassed about wearing them because it made them look different.”
According to Ivermee, one day she had the idea to help the daughter of a friend decorate her hearing aid with “flowery nail stickers.” Ivermee continues, “I thought to myself that it seemed such a simple solution there must be some kind of product on the market that did the same. It was a real shame to find there was hardly anything out there that was simple to use and readily available, and this got me thinking!”
This led to the creation of Ivermee’s original product, Lugs. Lugs are stickers and vinyls that are made specifically to decorate a variety of hearing devices. On the products’ official website, customers can order kits and products to fit their specific needs. The available decorations include everything from Batman to Minecraft to the Little Mermaid.
Through the creation of Lugs, Ivermee has enabled children who use assistive devices to take control over how they want to present themselves to the world. She is setting the stage for deaf children to take hold of their own agency. And that is pretty awesome.