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American Foundation for the Blind® | Reader's Digest Partners for Sight

Living with Hearing and Vision Loss Due to Usher Syndrome

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Living with Hearing and Vision Loss Due to Usher Syndrome

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Transcript of Living with Hearing and Vision Loss Due to Usher Syndrome Video

NARRATOR 1: A woman with short gray hair.

NARRATOR 2: Mary Peck has Usher Syndrome. In this series of videos, she tells her story about overcoming some of the challenges that this syndrome poses. She talks about some life changes that she has made that have improved her life and her ability to live independently, and demonstrates some devices that make living with combined hearing and vision loss easier and safer.

MARY: When, let's see, I was about, I was 57 years old and I found out that I could get a seeing eye dog, and I didn't have to be blind. As long as I was visually impaired, I could get a seeing eye dog, and I decided to go get one.

NARRATOR 1: Photo of Mary with her German Shepherd.

MARY: I have been so amazed, I've had two dogs now—and the dog that I have now, her name is Cassie, she's laying at my feet—but both dogs have been a real godsend for me. It has opened up doors of opportunity, it has bolstered my self-confidence, I just feel a whole lot better about myself now and who I am.

NARRATOR 1: Photos of Mary walking with her dog.

MARY: And right after I got my dog, I started realizing that there were so many places I could go that I hadn't been going. I never went shopping by myself, I needed somebody to go with me. I had my dog for about a year and I thought, if I can do that with this dog, I can do this, too.

So I went back to college, and I started college in 2001. And in 2004, I got my Bachelor's degree. And then two weeks later, I started graduate school.

I was studying to be a counselor and I realized my hearing really seemed to be getting worse, and I was having a problem hearing clients. And it's really important to hear them, especially when you're a counselor. And someone told me that times have changed, and you don't have to be deaf to get a cochlear implant and benefit by it. So I decided to take the risk, I went to a doctor, and he told me that he thought I was a prime candidate and he was quite sure that he could increase my hearing from 30 percent to 60 percent. So at that point, I decided to have the surgery, just go for it. And to my amazement and delight, my hearing improved from 30 percent to 86 percent, and it has made a lot of difference.

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