Hayleigh’s Cherished Charms

2 07 2011

Hayleigh’s Cherished Charms was one of the exhibitors at the annual Hearing Loss Association of America Convention, held last month in nearby Crystal City, Virginia.

HAYLEIGH’S ROCKY START
Before Hayleigh Scott was born, a sonogram revealed that she had a congenital diaphragmatic hernia, which displaced her organs. Her parents, Rachel and Andrew, were given options to terminate one baby, in-utero surgery, or to just “watch and wait.” They opted for the latter, with much prayer and support from family and friends. Her twin, Vienna, was healthy at birth; Hayleigh was not. She was in the ICU for two and half months and had to be quarantined for the first two years of her life. They noticed her hearing loss when she was 18 months old. She was diagnosed with severe-to-profound hearing loss and has been wearing hearing aids (and decorating them!) ever since.

AN ENTREPRENEUR IS BORN
When Hayleigh was five, she decided she wanted to show off her hearing aids with some “bling.” She started drawing sketches with her sisters and a few years later, their mom helped them make the designs into jewelry. With the help of her mother, father, twin sister Vienna and younger sister Sarah, Hayleigh turned this kitchen table venture into a full-fledged business, Hayleigh’s Cherished Charms. She encourages her customers to celebrate their uniqueness by embellishing their hearing aids and cochlear implants and not trying to hide them.

She and her two sisters make all the jewelry, which includes more than 50 hearing aid charms (see sample at left). They also create cochlear implant bling, bracelets, earrings and necklaces. Their newest creations are colorful and fun Tube Twists (shown at right) and Snake Tube Twists. And they’re not just for girly girls (and big girls)—they create charms for boys and tomboys, too! The charms are reasonably priced—from $10 to $25—and shipping on all orders is free in the U.S. and international shipping is just $5. Hayleigh is committed to giving back to the community she serves—ten percent of all proceeds are donated to furthering hearing research and education of the hard of hearing and deaf community.

A PASSION FOR BUSINESS
Her parents then applied for a provisional patent for her invention. A three-year process, this meant she couldn’t wear the charms, promote them or advertise them during that time. Now that’s what I call an extremely patient entrepreneur. Hayleigh and her sisters are so engaging and lively, and their enthusiasm for their products and their business is contagious! As a self-employed person for more than 20 years, I can relate to their joy and enthusiasm for their passion. Their booth was always busy and Vienna later told me that they did really well in their first time as exhibitors at an HLAA Convention.

Audiologist Douglas Beck conducted an interview last year with Hayleigh and her mother about Hayleigh’s hearing loss and her blossoming business for The American Academy of Audiology website. From that interview, I learned that Hayleigh and Vienna are “mirror twins.” I wasn’t familiar with that term until now. It means they have opposite identical features, like left versus right handedness and their hair parts on opposite sides. Read that interview transcript here. Author Maureen Doty Tomasula wrote about Hayleigh in her article, Sharing Her Special Charm, published in The Hearing Journal in September 2009.

SHARING A COMMON BOND
Hayleigh may not know this, but she shares an honor that I was privileged to receive a few years ago. She is the first place winner in the Student Category of the 2010 Oticon Focus on People Award. Congratulations, Hayleigh! I received first place in the Adult Category in 2008. Hearing Loss Magazine editor Barbara Kelley secretly nominated me for the award. Oticon flew all the winners and a guest to Denver for the ceremony, and I wrote about that amazing experience (thanks again, Barbara!) on my blog here.

To continue in the “six degrees of separation” vein, I met my friend and HLAA member Lynn Rousseau while in Denver at the Oticon Awards event. She was a first place award recipient in the Advocacy Category. We became fast friends and her life story was so interesting that I suggested to Barbara that we profile her in Hearing Loss Magazine. She made her cover feature debut in the May/June 2011 issue, which I wrote about here.

I photographed the entire Scott family (including Hayleigh’s adorable cherub of a brother, AJ) at the end of the Convention. Look for Hayleigh and her family in a future issue of Hearing Loss Magazine!

All photos (except product photos) © Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

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6 responses

2 07 2011
thehearingblog

It was a real pleasure to meet the entire Scott family… And Yes, there may be a photo of me with red “Cars 2” charms hanging from my earmolds!

2 07 2011
Tom Robinson

Super story, Cindy; thanks for sharing, with so much detail and pictures, too. All of us with children ‘whose normal is abnormal to others’ draw strength and encouragement from stories of a families like these. Blessings to Hayleigh, her parents and to you, as all have allowed God to shine through what you do best!

4 07 2011
thekingoftexas

We thinkest that thy hast an inexhaustible source of words, a subliminal source that erupts on command, much as does the Old Faithful geyser in Yellowstone Park. The major difference is that the geyser’s eruptions are far less often and far more predictable than thy eruptions. We suspect that thy predilection to fill page after page is a combination of acquired and inborn factors.

We take full credit for the inborn factors, but only a minute fraction of the acquired—thou didst that on thy own. There is not a doubt about it—thy possessest (?) that which is technically termed the gift of gab, and that pleases Us (note the royal capitalization and the plural pronouns—after all, We are the King of Texas).

Between the two of us, you are the one that should be doing a newspaper column, weekly or daily in the Washington Post, alternating among the virtually unlimited things you do so well. I say this in all seriousness—look, I’m not even smiling, much less laughing. You should send some teasers to the various editors—throw your stuff at the wall and see what sticks.

This is a superb posting with brilliant photography—I give it a perfect 10.

5 07 2011
Netagene

The first ones I headed for after getting to the hotel, getting my room, and registering at the HLAA booth, was to meet Hayleigh and family. I had been emailing her since the day after the article in the January HLAA magazine. I had bought 3 pair of the charms, and sent her the makings for some more! It was a real hug-fest when I finally got to meet them! (I am 67 and have had HAs only 5 years. I am also high partial legally blind.) Netagene in Alabama

20 07 2011
hearing aids

What a great idea. Glad to see that this girl has overcome her disability so well. Turning hearing aids into a fashion statement…that’s pretty neat!

24 04 2012
Karen

i come from a family of stong hearing loss.i am HOH. 3 of my 5 childrn are HOH/deaf.when my middle child was born HOH she got colord molds and aids. i never got that as a kid as they didn’t have them then.ever since i wanted color aids but can’t afford them so i have been think about jazzing them upever since.i thought about for 6 years but i worried that rime stones/stickers would fall off. but now i see a lot of people are doing it with stuff used for finernails i want to give it a try. 2 of my kids just had their aids replced yesurday and was looking u ways to jazz them up when i came across your site. i thrilled tothe point i was jumping up and down LOL.and with my daugther b-day in june i found the perfect gift!i happy to see the parents embrace her like i do my kids.i have always been proud of them and did my best to teach them not to be shameful of who we are.i am grateful i am HOH so o can relate with my kids and truely understand how they feel.thanks for embrase your daugther thru her you enbrasc us all who are HOH/deaf/Deaf.

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