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Cool Kid helps hearing-impaired overcome social obstacles

April 18, 2013 12:00:00 AM PDT
This week's Cool Kid uses what some people may see as an obstacle to inspire change for others.

Alex Kukoff is partially deaf. But instead of this being an obstacle, Alex says it's inspired her to think of ways to help others.

"I had struggled with hearing loss my whole life. One of the things that tends to get overlooked in hard-of-hearing research is the social consequences," said Alex.

Going to the movies is one of the most social things people can do. And Alex wanted to help everyone have that experience. So she teamed with GrabCAD, an open forum for engineers, to invent special eyewear that helps those with hearing deficiencies.

"Sort of similar in design, I guess, to the 3-D glasses that you get for movies. When you wear them at a movie, they display the closed-captioning on the lenses for that given movie," said Alex.

Alex heard from a teen who was experiencing feelings of isolation, common among those with hearing challenges, and the girl told Alex that her work had really made a difference and made her feel better.

"I think what I'm doing, I really think it can benefit a lot of people. And I'm just very thankful and I really want to help all those people. So it was great to hear from her," said Alex.

Alex continues to work with the hearing-impaired, and devotes time to volunteer for environmental causes. All of it reflects her feelings about people helping people.

"It's not just one person for themselves. It's not like a 'survival of the fittest' situation. It's everyone as a whole in their community just helping each other so that community can thrive," said Alex.

Alex Kukoff is determined to help those who can feel excluded from some of the fun things of life.


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