Penn State’s Jonni Parker moving past the latest COVID-19 challenge

Sports

Penn State outside hitter Jonni Parker moved past whatever challenge life threw at her.

Now, the pandemic has set up another unique hurdle for her to clear.

Doctors diagnosed Parker with hearing loss when she was just four years old. You can see her wearing hearing aids when she competes at Rec Hall. The hearing loss has not stopped her from becoming an All-American, a first team All-Big Ten performer, and the current kills leader for Penn State.

Here’s something you might not think about: wearing masks to protect herself from COVID-19 might interfere with her hearing aids.

“If the straps are thicker – they sit right on top of my hearing aids and that sometimes causes difficulties. But it hasn’t been that bad,” Parker said.

Parker also mentioned the constant cheers from teammates would force her teammates to read lips as well. If masks prohibit some of that, her teammates will communicate or relay messages to help out.

“All my teammates and coaches, it is still ‘Huh what did you say?’ We all have to read lips when we are in the gym and stuff like that. Everyone has been really great about working with each other. If they can’t hear or don’t know what each other says,” Parker said.

She also mentioned that using a neck gaiter as a face covering could be a better option that doesn’t interfere with her hearing aids.

Penn State volleyball will open the season on Friday and Saturday at Michigan. Both games are at 6 p.m. and you can stream the matches on BTN Plus.

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