Dec 2017 Ottawa Herald

A local business owner learned from birth to tackle all obstacles head on. Angie Arnett, owner of Salon 101 in downtown Ottawa, was adopted when she was three days old. “My life started at the county welfare office,” Arnett said. Fighting to live a normal life had just begun for Arnett. Her parents found out when Arnett was in kindergarten that she was deaf. “I did not pass my hearing test,” she said. “They took me to get hearing aids when I was five years old. They knew I had a speech impairment when I was two.” She spent 10 years in speech therapy and can speak as normally as most people today. Arnett taught herself to read lips, which is why her parents were unaware of her hearing loss before entering school.

“They had no idea that I was hearing impaired because I was communicating with them,” Arnett said. Her parents were the backbone of her perspective in life. “My parents have been my biggest supporters,” Arnett said. “God led me through a lot of things in life. My parents always told me there is no dis in disability. You have the ability to do whatever you want in life. Nobody calls me disabled because of my challenges. I have always overcame my [lack of] hearing. Do I get frustrated? Sure.” The kindergarten teacher told her parents she needed to attend the Indiana School for the Deaf and not public school. Once there, the deaf school administrators wondered why she was there because she could speak. “They were amazed,” Arnett said. “I owe that to my parents for all the years of speech therapy.”

Her life took another twist two years ago this past June when she lost all hearing on her left side. She went for testing at St. Luke’s Hospital in Kansas City, Missouri. “I went from 65 percent hearing loss to 100 percent,” Arnett said. She received a cochlear implant in her left ear. “I can hear with hearing aids, but once I take them out, I hear nothing,” Arnett said. “I can hear 33 percent with my cochlear implant and 40 percent with my hearing aids. I rely 100 percent on lip reading because that is my first language. Always will be. I don’t concentrate on hearing, I concentrate on reading lips.” Her life took a few twists and turns before becoming a licensed cosmetologist. “I have always known I wanted to be a hairdresser,” Arnett said. “At 19, you know it all. My parents tried to get me to go to cosmetology school, but I did not do that. Instead I went to college and [got] a business degree. I did business management for awhile. I got burned out on that. I went to cosmetology school when I was 26. I have been doing hair for 22 years now.”

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