ASOS praised for using model with cochlear implant

British online fashion retailer ASOS is earning praise for its decision to use a woman with a cochlear implant as an earring model.

A cochlear implant is an electronic device that partially restores hearing and is an option for people who are deaf or who have severe hearing loss and cannot be helped by hearing aids.

Approximately 15 percent of the global population have a disability, but they are disproportionately underrepresented in the media. The media can be a vital resource in changing public perception of disabilities by raising awareness and counteracting stigma or misinformation.

That’s why ASOS’s move is going viral. Twitter user @asiasmith_16 helped draw attention to the model and gave the company a shoutout in a tweet that has now drawn more than 1,100 retweets.

“Definitely not crying because of @ASOS using an earring model with a hearing aid,” @asiasmith_16 wrote. “It’s the first time I’ve ever seen a model with a hearing impairment, let alone an earring model and it’s so refreshing to see this kind of representation for people like me.”

Later, @asiasmith_16 corrected herself and clarified it was not a hearing aid, but rather a cochlear implant.

The earrings are exclusively available on the U.K. version of the ASOS website.

MyLondon News identified the model as Natasha Ghouri, who was born deaf and has used a cochlear implant her entire life.

“MY HEART IS FULL RIGHT NOW!” Ghouri wrote on Instagram in response to the support around her ASOS photo. “I’m bloody proud to represent my community.”

“Isn’t it funny,” one Twitter user pointed out. “No one thinks twice at a pair of glasses but hearing aids and cochlear implants are still a bit taboo.”

“I’m currently really hard of hearing, I’m sure I’m going to need a hearing aid soon, I was so nervous, but this has honestly made me tear up and made me realize it is completely normal!” another wrote.

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