Meet Our SuperHEARos!

A SuperHEARo is someone who makes a difference in our community. Someone who goes above and beyond and has inspired us to be better, do more, and take action. Too often these HEARos go unsung. We want to let our SuperHEARo’s know that we appreciate everything they do!

Do you want to nominate a SuperHEARo? Email


Warren Snipe a.k.a. WaWa

Warren Snipe is making some major waves in the world. Those waves happen to be soundwaves, which seems unexpected coming from someone who has had hearing loss all of his life.

Warren Snipe, who goes by the stage name “WAWA” is a talented writer, rapper, and performer. His shows are visually vibrant and loud, expelling energy from the stage as he signs and raps his songs. Not only are the bass pumped beats infectious but the messages in his lyrics are real and uplifting. He’s performed at various deaf events and festivals around the world, always bringing energy and breaking stereotypical molds. Wawa is changing the way we see hip-hop or dip-hop, which is a term used to describe the new genre that is being created. (Hip-Hop through deaf eyes)

His passion for music and his ambitions to create awareness around the many talented deaf artists of today has fueled his 15 year career so far, and he is not planning on slowing down anytime soon. He was recently featured in the R&B artist Maxwell’s “Fingers Crossed” lyric video and dropped his album “Deaf: So What?!” in early September.

He lets people know that he is deaf and proud of it. His career as a rap artist inspires others who have been told that their disability limits them or their dreams.


Check out WaWa’s work HERE.

Alicia D.D. Spoor, Au. D

Alicia D.D. Spoor, Au.D. is President and Audiologist at Designer Audiology, LLC in High- land, Maryland. Dr. Spoor received her Doctor of Audiology (Au.D.) degree from Gallaudet University in Washington, D.C. and her Bachelor of Arts degree in Audiology and Speech Sciences from Michigan State University.

Dr. Spoor constantly dedicates her time and efforts to make legislative and regulatory changes to benefit patients and their level of care. Alicia’s achievements have improved hearing healthcare for people in Maryland and advanced the profession of audiology in the U.S. As a result of her involvement in state legislation, patients now have a right to better hearing aid coverage in their insurance.

In 2015, ADA presented Alicia with the inaugural Craig W. Johnson Audiology Advocate Award, established to recognize an individual who has made significant contributions to the profession of audiology through federal and/or state advocacy. Dr. Spoor has carried forward Dr. Johnson’s great legacy and currently volunteers her time to advocate on regulatory and legislative issues as the Legislative Chair for the Maryland Academy of Audiology. She is the former advocacy committee chair for the Academy of Doctors of Audiology and currently serves as the Chair of the Audiology Quality Consortium, which comprises representatives from 10 national audiology organizations that are purposed to monitor PQRS (Physician Quality Reporting System) and respond to rule and measure changes, collaborate on the development of audiology quality measures, and educate audiologists regarding audiology quality measures and PQRS reporting requirements.

As an Audiologist, Dr. Spoor provides comprehensive hearing and healthcare services that improve the lives of her patients and those around them. Her passion for small business, private practice, and steering the national conversation about hearing loss issues makes her a SuperHEARo.

Adele Sandberg

Six years ago, retired teacher Adele Sandberg began Ear Peace: Save Your Hearing Foundation, a non-profit organization that educates students about noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL) and motivates them to change their behavior.

Adele is passionate about the issue of hearing health and is committed to increasing community awareness of NIHL. Aided by a team of Ear Peace Foundation volunteers, she has brought the dangers of loud sound to the attention of thousands of students and training teachers.

They have been working with the University of Miami for several years and have recently begun collaborating with Nova Southeastern University to make college students aware of this issue. Ear Peace also has Protect-A-Band and Greater Miami Youth Symphony programs that seek to inform band members as well as band and music teachers, and their teacher workshops have reached more than 30,000 children in Dade County Public Schools.

Adele recently discussed NIHL on public radio and has started a new program to help people become aware of noise levels in restaurants. She is passionate about reaching as many people–especially young people–as possible with her message that hearing loss from noise is permanent but it is preventable.

Her efforts are selfless. Adele continues her pursuit of education and awareness simply because she understands that hearing loss has become an epidemic in our world. She is aware of the effects hearing loss can have on people’s lives and is using knowledge as a tool to prevent others from experiencing it.

Adele is a SuperHEARo!

Virgi Mills

Virgi is a bilateral recipient of cochlear implants and is happy to educate others on how devices work with implants as well as the potential challenges faced by individuals with implants. While she has a Master’s Degree in Education of the Deaf and is a Community Outreach Manager for Med-El, Virgi’s wealth of knowledge and willingness to share her journey are what really make her stand out.

With a smile that makes you feel like you’ve known her for years, Virgi takes time to listen to people’s questions about cochlear implants and then responds to each person individually. She helps put people at ease by taking their concerns seriously and giving an answer that provides both a deeper understanding of the subject and a feeling of being heard and respected.

Her job requires her to spend time on the road away from her own family, yet it’s plain to see her devotion to helping everyone she can. The passion Virgi has for her work is genuine.

She is always upbeat and excited about all the new technology that is becoming available for the benefit of the hearing loss community.

Virgi is a SuperHEARo!


Jaylin is five years old. In 2014, she became the recipient of cochlear implants on both her left and right sides. Since being activated, she has shown a zest for life and never lets her hearing loss stop her from doing anything. With the help of her implants, she is even able to attend mainstream kindergarten.

There isn’t anything Jaylin has been unable to do because of her deafness. In fact, she is involved with gymnastics, ballet, tap and swimming. She also goes to Auditory-Verbal Therapy each week to sharpen her listening and language skills as she gets older.

Despite her young age, Jaylin is active in her hearing loss community. Her mother is on the Board of the Alexander Graham Bell Association’s Colorado Chapter and a patient advocate for Med-El, so Jaylin attends numerous events that support the community. At last year’s HLAA Colorado Walk4Hearing 5K, she and her mother walked in honor of “Jaylin and Johnny’s Ears” and raised $850 that would go toward programs and services for people with hearing loss and their families.

With her bubbly personality and infectious giggle, Jaylin is well on her way to becoming a strong advocate and mentor for the hearing loss community.

Maddi & Richard - The Dynamic Duo

Richard is an Army veteran who, like so many others, lost much of his hearing while serving our country. When he and his family returned to the U.S. after being stationed abroad, finances were tight. While Richard served in the Special Forces Reserves and finished his college degree, his wife Maddi raised their three children and eventually began distributing a new TTY product. This is how HITEC (Hearing Impaired Technologies) was born.

Maddi built a network by working with nonprofit groups and community advocates, striving to make an impact on the community and working tirelessly to build the business. It quickly became a family business; their kids helped out after school to type documents and take inventory. Richard went on to get his MBA and then, as HITEC continued to grow, he left his other job in 1989 to help his wife with sales. Little did he know that his own hearing loss would become a source of innovation and insight, and ultimately lead to the development of their own brand of products.

Richard has since retired from HITEC, but his desire to make a difference remains deeply ingrained in his DNA. After retiring, he took on the role of Executive Director for the Americans for Better Hearing Foundation, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that seeks to close the gap in Medicaid that leaves citizens vulnerable and underserved with inadequate hearing assistance and audiological services.

Esther Kelly

Like most people, Esther Kelly has a mission. Sure, she juggles two roles—one with the Deaf Action Center in Dallas and one for the Texas Office for Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services—but really, she does more than that. Esther’s true mission is to help people with hearing loss stay in the work force and be independent as long as possible.

But what makes Esther a SuperHEARo is the level of passion, the enthusiasm, the joy she shares as she fulfills this mission. She is nothing less than awesome at offering insight, support and advice to people about the complex technology in the world of hearing loss. If you have the privilege of observing Esther talk to people, you’ll see her take advantage of every possible moment to impart words of wisdom and valuable knowledge, and you’ll feel her energy, her zest for making a difference.

Esther changes lives. She helps people maintain their dignity and their independence. She spreads her enthusiasm and shares her years of experience with a gracious generosity that is truly inspirational.

All SuperHEARo characters have been illustrated by Bryan Dyer, the founder of the “You Are the Hero”. Learn more about Bryan’s project here.