Mandy Harvey, a 29-year-old singer, was given the 'golden buzzer' on America’s Got Talent recently thanks to her performance singing and playing the ukulele.
What is truly remarkable about Mandy’s pitch-perfect act, though, is that she is deaf. Ten years ago, while attending Colorado State University as a music student, she lost her hearing as a result of a connective tissue disorder.
Mandy’s love of music could not be stifled by her hearing loss, however, and encouraged by her father and various music professors, Mandy returned to the music industry. In 2011, she won a Very Special Arts (VSA) International Young Soloists Competition which honors outstanding young musicians with disabilities who receive $2,000 and an opportunity to perform at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C.
She has produced 3 albums [Smile (2009), After You’ve Gone (2010), and All of Me (2014)] and is an ambassador for No Barriers, an organization devoted to providing transformative educational experiences to those with disabilities.
According to Hajas et al, hearing imparities occur in about half of the patients with mixed connective tissue disease, however compete hearing loss is rare.
Some connective tissue disorders include lupus, scleroderma, polymyositis. Swelling, malaise, and joint and muscle pain are the more common symptoms associated with connective tissue disorder.
The cause of Mandy’s hearing loss is not known. There is currently no cure for these conditions, but most can be managed or controlled with prescribed medications that will vary with the specific disorder and its severity.