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Hearing-Impaired Teen Named Miss Teen International
Wednesday August 20, 5:20 am ET

Will Use Position to Inspire Hearing-Impaired Children

CHICAGO, Aug. 20 /PRNewswire/ -- While some teenagers are busy planning what to wear Friday night or which movie to see over the weekend, 13-year-old Bailey Mills is planning how she's going to raise national awareness about high frequency hearing loss during the coming year.

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Mills, a hearing-impaired teenager from Pawleys Island, S.C., is the newly crowned Miss Teen International. Her community awareness platform is "A Sound Vision" -- an innovative program that focuses on early hearing-loss detection, awareness and education for individuals with high frequency hearing loss.

Mills was diagnosed with high frequency hearing loss in childhood. "My parents worked quickly to turn what could have been a disability into a promising possibility," Mills said. "Early detection, awareness and education are so important in overcoming the obstacles that frequently accompany high frequency hearing loss."

People with high frequency or sensorineural hearing loss often have difficulty hearing and understanding certain words with high-pitch consonants, making it difficult to follow a conversation. Aging and prolonged exposure to loud noise are the most common causes.

"I'm hearing impaired -- not weird, stupid or incapable of learning," Mills added. "I want to share that message with other hearing-impaired children to help them find the confidence to excel at whatever they choose."

Mills was chosen from among the more than 40 finalists representing the U.S., Canada and Puerto Rico during the annual competition in Chicago and receives a prize package that includes a college scholarship, trips and merchandise. The youngest contestant in the finals, she is an eighth-grader at Waccamaw Middle School, the Student Council class president, and the cheerleading captain, and active in the National Junior Honor Society. In the community, she serves as a Special Olympics coach and volunteers for Meals on Wheels and the Street Reach Ministries.

"Bailey's commitment to helping others, determination to meet challenges head-on and enthusiasm make her an important role model for today's youth," said Mary Richardson, executive director of Miss Teen International. "We're proud to have her representing Miss Teen International and look forward to helping her increase awareness of hearing impairments."

Pageant contestants are evaluated in four categories -- interview, fashion wear, fitness and evening gown -- with the interview category being the most important and accounting for the largest percentage of participants' scores.

Open to teenage girls ages 13 to 19, Miss Teen International focuses on "Showcasing the Accomplishments of Today's Teens," and is a division of Mrs. International Pageant Inc. Headquartered in Roanoke, Va., Mrs. International Pageant Inc. was founded in 1985 to promote the successes of married women aged 21 to 56. The 2003 Mrs. International Pageant is September 5 and 6 in Pigeon Forge, Tenn. Additional information is available at and

Source: Miss Teen International


Help Kids Hear is a site dedicated to helping parents of deaf and hard of hearing (DHH) children. We are parents of hard of hearing kids and simply want to "give back" to the community. We welcome your comments, questions & suggestions. Please drop us a note at