Hearing Loss Nov Dec 2009 - (Page 12)

D eanne Bray has hearing loss as do the characters she plays. She is most recently known for her starring role in the PAX-TV series, Sue Thomas: F.B.Eye. The show was loosely based on the true experiences of Sue Thomas, a woman with a profound hearing loss, who worked for the FBI in 1978 doing uncover surveillance by reading lips. Deanne played the character in the current time and her character worked with the FBI agents on the field more than the real Sue. The real Sue mostly watched videotapes transcribing suspects’ statements by reading lips. Her role as Sue Thomas brought many e-mails with kind words and lots of support. She tries to respond to all her e-mails within five to ten days, but admits it is sometimes hard to get to them all! Deanne has a severe hearing loss (70 dB to 90 db) and wears a hearing aid in her left ear. She reads lips to augment what sounds the hearing aid provides. She also uses sign language, assistive devices, captioning, whatever it takes to navigate her personal and professional life as an actress. She graduated from the University of California-Northridge with a bachelor’s degree in biology. Deanne is married to Troy Kotsur, an actor who is Deaf. They have a four-year-old daughter, Kyra. Deanne’s new series, Heroes, is a serial saga about people all over the world discovering that they have superpowers and trying to deal with how this change affects their lives. Deanne will play Emma, a woman with a hearing loss who will discover her power throughout the series. She has already appeared in the September 28, October 5, October 12, shows; her role as Emma will continue. was about 16 months old. Back then they did not do newborn hearing screening for hearing loss. When they suspected a hearing loss, they took me to several audiologists but since at that time they didn’t test babies, they asked my dad to return when I was age 7 to 12. The test required me to understand that I must raise my hand whenever I heard a sound. My dad was smart not to follow their advice and wait until I was older. When I was two, he took me to UCLA to get an evaluation of my hearing loss through machines that read my brain activity. They fitted a hearing aid for my left ear since I had some residual hearing of about 70 dB; however, my right ear was deaf and a hearing aid did not help. Tell us about Heroes, its premise, and what role you will play on the show. I will play a character, Emma, who as Tim Kring, the show’s creator, said: “Emma is a fascinating and powerful woman.” She has a severe hearing loss and throughout the series will use sign language. But later in the series she might be wearing her hearing aid where she functions as a hard of hearing individual. I have no idea right now where they are going with that story line. She is disconnected from people due to a tragic event that happened in her life a few years back. She meets Peter (Milo Ventimiglia) and Hiro (Masi Oka) who will guide her on how to use her power. It will be a lot of self-discovery and growth during her journey in Heroes. She will be in multiple episodes. So far she is in episodes 4, 5, and 6 and maybe 8, 9 and 10. That’s all I know for now. Also, I understand that Peter and Emma will become close and help each other become better individuals down the line. As for what power she will have, I encourage you to tune in and find out this season. And, Heroes is closed captioned. You talk about your love of teaching and that your mother, Sylvia Powell, was a teacher. What are your experiences with teaching? My mother was a teacher at heart and did not work as a teacher as an occupation. I did go to public school, but with my mother, it was also like I was home schooled, but her way. Parents are usually children’s first “teachers.” Or, it should be that way. I developed the love of learning because of her. I have taught from elementary to high school age. In high school, I taught math and science. I taught American Sign Language classes as well. Next semester, I should be getting my credentials in a single subject, science. How did having a good education help you in your own career? My father raised me with the motto: “Education leads to freedom.” If you do well in school and go on to higher continued on page 14 Deanne’s character, Emma, in Heroes, uses headphones to block out the world and potential interactions and conversations with people. Tell us a little about your hearing loss. Does anyone else in your family have hearing loss? My father’s dad left when my dad was a baby; so I don’t know much of his side of the Bray family. I have no idea if there are other members of the family who have hearing loss. I was told that I was born deaf but my parents did not suspect this until I 12 Hearing Loss Magazine I went to school early to learn how to communicate through sign language, learn how to speak, and undergo auditory verbal training. The extensive training I had did not come only from what the school provided. Time was invested at home with my parents as well. I was bilingual using American Sign Language and speaking spoken English separately, but not simultaneously.

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Hearing Loss Nov Dec 2009

Hearing Loss Nov Dec 2009

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