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The Herald

Rachel Pavone is blind, hearing-impaired and diabetic — but that doesn't change her resolve to be successful in life and play in her high school band.

"One of the things people think about blind people or anyone with a disability is we're potatoes and we don't do anything," the Grand Blanc High School senior told The Flint Journal ( ). "So, the thing that I was taught at a very young age — because my mom does this and so does my dad — is that you have to work really hard to be very successful."

She may be one of about 500 people with Alström syndrome, a rare genetic condition that can cause a series of different symptoms, including progressive vision and hearing loss.

Nevertheless, beyond learning to play the alto saxophone, Pavone has played the timpani, drum pad and synthesizer during concerts and marching band events throughout high school.


Custom Ear Plugs for Band Students Helps Prevent Hearing Loss

It's a one of a kind program in Eagan that is helping prevent hearing loss in students. Eagan High School band students are being fit with custom ear plugs. The students will wear them during practice and it will cut down on noise levels by more than 30 decibels.

A normal conversation is between 40 and 50 decibels, a full band playing can easily top 100. Experts say one in five teenagers has measurable hearing loss, one in 20 has significant hearing loss that can affect the ability to learn.

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