Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Hearing Loss Doesn't Hold Back Young Singer

By Sara Feijo

Marshfield girl sings despite hearing loss

Elizabeth Sara Merrick might have trouble hearing your voice, but her voice will be music to your ears.

Born with hearing loss in both ears, Elizabeth, 11, got her first hearing aids when she was 4. She never let them set her back. She writes poems and stories, plays the piano, sings and makes movies – mostly horror and comedies.

Elizabeth will be singing the Beatles’ “Let It Be”at the New England Walk4Hearing on Sunday at Artesani Park in Brighton.

A fifth-grade student at South River School, Elizabeth is the daughter of Joe and Chrisann Merrick. Her sister, Grace, 7, is also hearing impaired.

Joe Merrick is an an award-winning singer/songwriter who was recently featured on “Chronicle, so it’s no surprise that Elizabeth started singing when she was 4. He’ll play accompanying guitar at Sunday’s walk.

A precocious youngster, Elizabeth testified last year at the State House for the Massachusetts Hearing Aids for Children Coalition. She was supporting House Bill 52, which was signed by Gov. Deval Patrick on Aug. 6. It requires insurance companies in Massachusetts to cover up to $2,000 of the cost of hearing aids for children.

Sitting at a table in her Marshfield home, Elizabeth remembered being uneasy speaking in front of a lot of people at the State House. “I was nervous,” she said. “ ... I remember saying what I wanted to be when I grow up – an actress, singer, maybe a Dunkin’ Donuts lady ... because it’s a place filled with doughnuts and munchkins.”

She said that afterward, she felt good and was glad to have helped. Elizabeth said she also stands up against bullying by helping friends who are being bullied. She has written stories about bullying.

She’s also written poems about vampires and a short biographical piece titled, “The Story of Elizabeth Merrick.”

Elizabeth said sometimes her classmates would stare at her hearing aids and ask about them, but she didn’t let it get to her.

“I would always say ‘these are hearing aids. They help me hear just like ... people need glasses to see,’” she said.

She enjoys reading and spelling. Her favorite book is “Mango-Shaped Space” by Wendy Mass. Though she recorded a video for “Let It Be” and will sing it Sunday, Elizabeth said her favorite songs are “Titanium” by David Guetta


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