Women's Health

Ability

Caroline was a shy college junior, working part-time as a receptionist at a cycling studio in New York City, when she met Rebecca, a gregarious instructor (and psychotherapist). The two didn’t talk much at first, but when Rebecca encouraged Caroline to train to be an instructor, they connected.

One day during Caroline’s training, Rebecca revealed part of her secret: She wore hidden hearing aids due to Usher Syndrome, a genetic condition that will eventually cause her to, , and —since it was easier for her to communicate by signing. The more they hung out, the more Caroline wanted to learn—taking night classes to become fluent in ASL. (A decade later, Rebecca has cochlear implants, with which she can pick up one-onone conversations; in noisy spaces, it’s much harder, so signing helps.)

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