Burgeoning Basketball Star Overcomes Hearing Loss

Janiece LevelstonMuskegon High School junior, Janiece Levelston, is a burgeoning high school basketball star – and she has mild to severe hearing loss.

First diagnosed in First Grade, Janiece struggled to come to terms with her hearing loss, finding her hearing aids uncomfortable and being teased by the other kids.  It wasn’t until Janiece started playing basketball in Fourth Grade that she learned to accept herself.

Because Janiece plays without her hearing amplifier, she and the Muskegon coach, Taushauna Burrel, rely on nonverbal communication to cut through the noise and confusion of a basketball game.  Janiece has also found a silver lining to her hearing loss.  “It works to her advantage at the free throw line when people are yelling, trying to distract her,” says Burrel.

A good student, Janiece dreams of one day playing basketball at Maryland or Notre Dame.  “My second option is becoming a computer engineer,” she says.

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