The Longest Shortest Time

EPISODE #86: The Secret Life of a Deaf Superhero

Looking for a transcript of this episode? Scroll down and click the link ‘Podcast Transcript.’

Before Cece Bell turned five, she got really sick and lost her hearing. She suddenly had to learn how to navigate the world of school, friendships, and family, through her hearing aids and lipreading. That’s her on the left as a kid, with her powerful hearing aid, the Phonic Ear, tucked into her overalls.


Today, Cece is an award-winning author and illustrator, and she recently turned her story of hearing loss into a graphic novel called El Deafo.


El Deafo is by far my six-year-old daughter’s favorite book ever. We’ve read it three times now, and it is a whopping 233 pages. Luckily, this book is a thrilling read for me, too.

Sample page from El Deafo. Click image to view larger.

Sample page from El Deafo. Click image to view larger.

Tune in to hear the charming, funny Cece Bell talk about how she imagined herself as a deaf superhero, and how she’s used her hearing aids for good and evil—both in school as a kid, and later as the parent of two children.

Wanna see more on the making of El Deafo?
Check out this visual breakdown of where Cece got ideas for the book, and how she made it, in this fantastic feature from The Guardian.

Resources for Parents of Deaf and Hard of Hearing Kids
As Cece Bell points out in her author’s note at the end of El Deafo, there are lots of ways to be deaf, and to raise deaf kids. If you’re looking for resources, a great place to start is the American Society for Deaf Children. This page is specifically for parents and families.

For nonjudgmental support, check out Hands & Voices. They have local chapters.

Karen Putz, the Coordinator of Deaf and Hard of Hearing Infusion at Hands & Voices wrote a book about her experiences as the mother of three deaf and hard of hearing children. It’s called The Parenting Journey: Raising Deaf and Hard of Hearing Children.

I Can Hear You Whisper is a book by science journalist Lydia Denworth. Denworth wrote this investigation of how hearing works and fails after learning that her young son was identified with hearing loss.

And one LST listener says he can’t watch this video without ugly crying.

Got another to add to the list? Put it in the comments.

How did YOU feel different as a kid?
How did you handle it? How about your parents? Tell us down below.

Our sponsors for this episode are Thirdlove, Owlet (code: PARENTING), AT&T Digital Life, Fracture (mention LST in checkout survey) and Little Passports (code: LONGSHORT) Use the promo codes at checkout for a special discount.

As an Amazon Associate, The Longest Shortest Time earns a small commission from qualifying purchases.