Editor's note: In the Human Factor, we profile survivors who have overcome the odds. Confronting a life obstacle – injury, illness or other hardship – they tapped their inner strength and found resilience they didn't know they possessed. Samantha Brownlie was diagnosed with nonsyndromic sensorineural bilateral hearing loss when she was 3 years old.
Hi, my name is Samantha. I'm 8 years old. I have an older brother named Sean. Me and my family live in New York City. I go to P.S. 3 in Manhattan.
Sean and I were born with hearing loss. We both wear hearing aids. It's not that hard to get used to wearing hearing aids. All you need to do is think of good things and then you put it in your ear and you hear better. That's all there is to it!
My mom or dad used to put my hearing aids in but now I'm old enough to do it by myself.
I really like my hearing aids because I can hear so much better with them. I used to wear one hearing aid and now I wear two. They are pink and blue!
Last year when I was still wearing one hearing aid I wrote a book called "Samantha's Fun FM Unit and Hearing Aid Book." I wrote it to explain why I wear a hearing aid and an FM Unit in school. And I also made the book for kids or adults that have hearing loss too. I want them to feel the same way about their hearing aids that I do!
My book is also about how to take care of hearing aids, how to use them and how to change the batteries, recharge the FM and tell the teacher how to use the transmitter.
On the cover of my book, I drew pictures of me and fun things like my scooter, my FM transmitter, candy and a Nintendo DS game.
My parents inspired me a lot because they have always told me that I should be proud of who I am and just be myself. Many people including my classmates and teachers don't know that much about hearing loss. I thought if I made a book with pictures it would help them understand hearing loss better and answer some of their questions.
On the outside you see a little girl that's 8 years old, but on the inside there is a good strong heart. And I believe I can do anything, as long as I believe in myself.