HJ/EDEnterprise Dispatch, Nov. 7, 2005

Dassel teen adjusts to hearing loss

By Kristen Miller
Staff Writer

Despite Amber Herrig’s recent hearing loss, she continues to place the honor roll, and was recently chosen to be on the homecoming court for the Minnesota State Academy for the Deaf.

It was a slow hearing loss for Herrig. When she was two months old, she developed a chronic ear infection, which led to other more serious medical issues.

This past July, things took a turn for the worse. In August, her ears began popping rapidly with severe pains she said. With the popping, there became less hearing.

Now, Herrig can sometimes hear people talking, but she said typically she can only hear screams or loud noises.

With her recent hearing loss, Herrig has had to learn different ways to communicate. Thanks to technology with text messaging and e-mail, it has made it easier for her, she said.

Herrig, daughter of Gordy and Judy Herrig of Dassel attends the Minnesota State Academy (MSAD) for the Deaf in Faribault.

In October, Herrig was crowned one of the members of the homecoming court at MSAD and continues to be involved with school.

Twice a week Herrig mentors one-on-one and is involved with the academic bowl.

Also, Herrig is a coordinating secretary for the student body government and works after school in the dining hall.

Last year, Herrig was on the honor roll and received an award for excellence. This year, she is working to maintain her honor roll status and for a scholarship to college.

She is currently trying to find a college that can accommodate her hearing loss and give her a deaf community with which to socialize.

Herrig was interested in the armed forces, but is now thinking about medicine.

She recently went on a mission trip to Jaurez, Mexico with her church and works weekends at Alongside Services as a mentor for mentally challenged adults at a home in Watertown and Mayer.

It has been a challenge for Herrig and her family but they are learning to adjust.

Her mother has been taking classes at Ridgewater College in sign language and they communicate with text by phone.

One thing that upsets Amber is that she can’t go to a drive-through. Instead she has to go inside.

Also, she never used to like rap. Instead she liked rock and musicals, but now she plays rap music because she can feel it.

She has even grown accustomed to dating deaf guys. Her current boyfriend of 10 months lives in Oklahoma City, but they communicate often.

Although Herrig’s loss has been recent, she seems to be adjusting well according to her mother.

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