Turner Hitt, a senior at Lee County High School in Georgia, has managed to achieve great success in his high school career despite being born deaf. He first received hearing aids at two months old and his first cochlear implant at age five. Hitt’s mother, Maryann Smithwick, was able to diagnose her son with hearing loss at such a young age due to her career in nursing.
With the help of his hearing devices, Hitt was speaking at an appropriate level at age two, and able to read by age four. With his hearing continuing to decline, he began to learn a proficiency in lip reading to the point where, years later, many of his high school teachers were unable to tell that he had any difficulty hearing at all.
As a high school student, Hitt is second in his class and will be participating in the Georgia Governor’s Honors Program. This is an honor which is reserved for the most intelligent and artistic students in the state. Hitt also enjoys participating in school plays. For the past two years, he has been in every play performed by his school and has been given leading roles due to his ability to visualize the things around him and respond to visual cues, since he can’t always hear what’s happening on stage.
Hitt feels that early intervention is important for the development of a child and urges parents to be proactive when deciding which treatments are best for their child.
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