Marvel Comics created Blue Ear, a superhero whose distinctive listening device enables him to detect supersonic sounds, to help a 4-year-old New Hampshire boy overcome his aversion to wearing a hearing aid to school.
We heard the story of a 4-year-old New Hampshire boy Anthony Smith who didn’t want to use his hearing aid, telling his mum that “superheroes don’t wear them.” The child was born with a genetic disorder that left him without a functioning right ear and significant hearing loss in the other.
So Anthony’s mother Christina D’Allesandro wrote an email to Marvel Comics explaining that her son didn’t want to wear his blue hearing aid at school. “Basically one day I woke up and said, ‘OK’, time to put in your hearing aid.’ and said ‘Let’s put in blue ear.’ We’ve always called it that.” And he said, “No, Superheroes don’t wear blue ears.”
The email from Anthony’s mother “got me thinking what could we to show that Superheroes do wear hearing aids,” said Bill Rosemann, a Marvel editor, who has a 3-year-old son.
“Maybe we can create a superhero that will make him feel good about wearing his hearing aid.” Rosemann first send the mum a comic book cover of Hawkeye, a member of the Avengers who lost his hearing. But Rosemann didn’t stop there. He also forwarded D’Allesandro’s email to some of Marvel’s artists, who pitched in to create Blue Ear, a superhero whose distinctive listening device gives him supersonic hearing.
The hearing device lets him hear “an ant hiccup on the other side of the country”. Nelson Ribeiro, Blue Ear’s co-creator told CBS News.
“The Blue Ear, along with other superheroes of Inter-C.O.M., who are all special needs children have banded together to use their newfound powers to fight crime and teach the world that no matter who you are, everyone has a hero inside of them,” Ribeiro added.
Thanks to my listening device, I hear someone in trouble,” Blue Ear exclaims in one panel in response to an otherwise inaudible cry for help.
Marvel later sent Smith another sketch showing Hawkeye and Blue Ear together.
Though Marvel has no plans to feature Blue Ear in other comics, the company’s gesture already has achieved the important goal that started it all.
Anthony told Fox 25 News in Boston that he’s gung ho to wear his hearing aid “to fight bad guys and help people.”