March 2019 Montrose Daily Press

Anina Hathaway spent 35 years wearing hearing aids when she made the leap to Cochlear implants, and when they were activated… “I was in another world,” Hathaway said.

Hathaway, who works as a graphic designer and does graphics for The Valley Symphony Association, was born deaf, but did not find out until she was 2. At 2-and-a-half she received hearing aids and speech therapy. As a child she did not utilise sign language. Hathaway explained that she comes from a hearing family so the family focused on her talking. After her parents divorced her mother wanted her to sign but her father didn’t want to learn, she recalled. She learned sign language at 8, but she prefers talking because its her native language. “I’m more connected to people when I talk,” Hathaway said.

From 2014-2017, she noticed a decline in her hearing and was having a harder time communicating with her family and friends in any situation. Hathaway became more reclusive.

Her husband, Kevin, saw what was happening and didn’t like what he was seeing. Every two years she gets her ears checked, and when she visited the audiologist she was told it was time to get cochlear implants. Being against the idea, Hathaway got multiple opinions. She then took the leap after being told what she had was the best in hearing aids and her only choice was implants.

Anina Hathaway

Anina Hathaway shows off one of the Valley Symphony Association posters she is working on at Scott’s Printing & Design Solutions.

“I didn’t know what to expect,” Hathaway said. “It’s the fear of losing what I had, and I did lose it.”

In February 2017, Hathaway had her first surgery and the second was June 2017. When she awoke from the first surgery, Hathaway said she cried because she couldn’t hear. When Cochlear implants are put in, the patient has to wait three weeks to recover and then they take another week to activate the device. Once her implants were activated, she could hear even the smallest of noises. But there was a down side to her new hearing, music that she once enjoyed that didn’t sound the same. Daft Punk’s album “Random Access Memories” was her favourite. She listened to the CD so much, she wore it out. Now, it is no longer her favourite album because it sounds different. She likes country music now, something that she never liked before.

In February she attended her first Cochlear celebration in Nashville. Here Cochlear implant recipients network, hear speakers, work on communication and more. “I learned to not be angry,” Hathaway said. “You can’t be an angry person, you have to focus on what’s new about this. Yeah, you’re morning but look at new things, you have new opportunities.”

Hathaway has degrees in art and art history. After receiving those, she eventually went back to school to get a graphic design degree. After she got her degree, she did freelance, temporary work and contact jobs over the next seven years. She then started networking and met Scott Beyer of Scott’s Printing and Design Solutions. After speaking with Beyer, interviewing and checking out the business, he offered her a job. Kevin retired and the couple settled in Montrose in September 2017.

About two years ago, Hathaway got involved with The Valley Symphony Association. Stacey Ryan, who does publicity for The VSA, started her role not long after and soon became her point of contact. Hathaway now does all the graphics for VSA. Together, they have created the new logo and season 48’s promotional material. Ryan said the new graphics are great and Hathaway was able to capture the themes of the concerts. The new graphics has helped with not only what they are trying to do with each concert but also what they are doing as an organisation, Ryan said. These elevate the exposure of the symphony, and helps to sell tickets and sponsorships.

“Even in fine arts and graphic design, I want the audience to engage and … I want them to have feelings and it works,” Hathaway said. Ryan said she finds it special that Hathaway has the background she does and excited about being part of what the VSA does. Having been playing the clarinet since the third grade, Ryan is very audio in how she experiences things. “It’s really gratifying to know that someone experiences is so appreciative of being able to experience it when most people take their hearing for granted, let alone their experience with music for granted,” Ryan said. “VSA is special no matter what, but it’s extra special knowing people like you (Hathaway) enjoy it and are part of it.” Hathaway gives back in her own way to the VSA, it gives her more freedom to be creative on their behalf because of her love of music. “I look up to musicians,” Hathaway said. “It’s like… I visualise music when they’re playing.It’s just poetry for the ear.”

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