Film student “doesn’t define hearing loss” – The Temple News


JEREMY ELVAS / THE TEMPLE NEWS Nayeli Perez-Peralta, a freshman film and media arts student, stands under the bell tower on February 19.

“And the Oscar goes to …”

“Oh my God!” at the right time, Nayeli Perez-Peralta shouted.

When the South Korean thriller “Parasite” made history as the first international feature to win the Oscar for Best Picture, many credited it with breaking down language barriers in Hollywood, AP reported.

But for Perez-Peralta, a first-year film and media arts student, the victory represented a victory for diversity in all its forms.

At birth, Perez-Peralta was diagnosed with Goldenhar syndrome, a rare craniofacial syndrome that causes abnormalities such as a deformed or missing ear, leading him to suffer from unilateral deafness in his right ear. She rarely recognizes onscreen models who look like her, she said.

But as she begins to pursue a film career at Temple University, she hopes to be a role model for young girls interested in the industry.

The National Association of the Deaf urges representations of the deaf or hard of hearing in film, television and theater to accurately represent “the rich tapestry of the deaf and hard of hearing in a precise and authentic way,” according to their website.

This year, Perez-Peralta won the 9th Annual Cochlear Anders Tjellström Scholarship, which offers scholarships of $ 2,000 each year for up to four years to students who use Cochlear devices and demonstrate academic achievement, leadership and high humanity. She was one of eight winners and 111 nominees.

Perez-Peralta got interested in cinema by creating fan accounts for dance groups and making his own mashup videos. She chose to come to Temple as a university next to her home in Olney to explore career possibilities in film, and is now interested in directing.

“I never really thought I would graduate from high school, not as a bad thing, I just couldn’t imagine the future,” Perez-Peralta said. “I feel really happy that I can afford to go to college, to be accepted into college, to meet new people and to focus on what I want to do.”

Obtaining the scholarship lifted a financial burden on her and her mother as they made financial sacrifices in the past for her medical treatment, such as 14 surgeries in her youth due to her syndrome, Perez said. Peralta.

In addition to the physical toll these procedures took on her body, Perez-Peralta once viewed her differences as a burden on her peers, she added.

“When people see me, I feel like they don’t want to bother talking to me because they might think that maybe I don’t have the same intellect, the same intelligence as them. , that I am “special”, “added Perez-Peralta.

Growing up, Perez-Peralta’s deafness put his ability to concentrate in school. If she wanted to learn the lessons, she had to be constantly on the alert.

“I had to be careful,” Perez-Peralta said. “I would be really upset if people spoke louder than the professor. It was really hard. I stayed after class to make sure I knew what was being taught… If I distracted myself, I would lose the lesson of the day.

First-year film and media arts student Nayeli Perez-Peralta holds her Baha 5 cochlear appliance on February 19. | JEREMY ELVAS / NEWS FROM THE TEMPLE

Since the age of 13, she has worn a bone-anchored hearing aid, a surgically implanted device designed for people with unilateral deafness, manufactured by Cochlear, a medical device company.

According to Cochlear, BAHA devices conduct sound through bone vibrations rather than air, used in a typical air conduction hearing aid.

Perez-Peralta recalled the exact moment his audiologist stared at the device behind his newly constructed ear and listened to the five beeps that sounded, when suddenly everything felt loud.

“I could have sworn I could hear everything around me,” she said. “I felt like I was entering a new universe. It was cool. I could have sworn I heard footsteps in the hallway. I thought I had superpowers.

People with hearing loss may experience hearing fatigue when straining to listen to conversations or experiencing overstimulation from background noise picked up by hearing aids, said Stacy Phillips, communications services coordinator at Temple’s Institute on Disabilities.

“They get so much information all the time that it can be overwhelming,” Phillips said.

Hearing loss makes everything more difficult, said Laurie Mauro, chief audiologist for bone conduction at Children’s Hospital in Philadelphia.

“[Perez-Peralta] well, despite her hearing loss, it’s because she’s really gone above and beyond what she thinks is just acceptable to get by, ”added Mauro.

As she continues her career in film, Perez-Peralta plans to add diversity to roles in her films and pave the way for people like her.

“I’m pretty good at what I do,” Perez-Peralta said. “I have good grades. I’m pretty relatable if you get to know me. Obviously I have a loss, but that doesn’t define me.

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that the 9th Annual Cochlear Anders Tjellström Fellowship had 189 applicants. It had 111 candidates.


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