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Hard of hearing boy draws heroic inspiration

NEED TO KNOW
  • Anthony Smith, 5, has partial hearing in one ear
  • Marvel Comics created a one-time character, 'Blue Ear,' in Anthony's likeness
  • His superpower is his ability to hear faint sounds from great distances

Every kid wants to be a superhero at some point. Heck, most adults do too. Who wouldn't want to leap buildings in a single bound, fly through the air and save the day in the nick of time?! But that's just the stuff of comic book lore... right?

Enter 5-year-old Anthony Smith and his amazing story of how he became "Blue Ear." Anthony was born with partial hearing in just one ear and has worn hearing aids his whole life. Recently he told his mom he did not want to wear them anymore, because "superheroes don't wear blue ears." That's their nickname for his blue hearing aids. Knowing she had to act fast, his mom Christina D'Allesandro responded by telling him "of course they do." 

Knowing she boxed herself into a corner, D'Allesandro pleaded to one of the industry giants. She wrote a letter to the folks at Marvel Comics asking, "Could you make a little guy's day by drawing him a hearing-impaired superhero?"

Marvel came through like, well, superheroes. Not only did they provide them with an image featuring Hawkeye during the time he wore hearing aids, they also started sending them artist drawings of a new hero made in Anthony's likeness, "Blue Ear."

But it didn't end there. The family and Marvel eventually teamed up with hearing aid distributor Phonak to create a poster involving Iron Man and a hard of hearing boy named Ethan. They tackle the subject of bullying and how it affects the deaf community. This poster is now being used through out pediatric audiology offices across the country to serve as a source of inspiration for other kids with hearing loss. 

Christina and Anthony sat down and shared their "super" experience with Kyra Phillips on Raising America. After watching this interview, you may agree that Anthony's real superpower may be making us all feel better about the world.

Raising America tackles news from a parent's perspective. Watch every week day at 12 p.m. ET on HLN. And be sure to tweet your thoughts to @KyraHLN with the #RaisingAmerica hashtag or leave your thoughts on Facebook.com

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