By Jannine Larky This article is a part of the January/February 2021, Volume 33, Number 1, Audiology Today issue. The year 2020 has been unlike any other. California’s fire season, spanning from August to November, now logs 8,834 fire incidents, 31 fatalities, the loss of 10,488 structures, and an estimated 4,149,345 acres burned—an area larger than the state of Connecticut (CA.gov, 2020 and Wigglesworth, 2020). Nearly 20,000 firefighters participated in fighting these fires, some coming from as far away as Israel. The largest and most devastating fires began in mid-August when a lightning storm sparked dozens of fires in Northern California. Burning across six counties, the August Complex fire is the largest wildfire in California history (Stelloh, 2020). Who are these heroes who help protect our homes, businesses, properties and lives from these devastating fires? They are women and men who persevered to make their dream a reality and who completed training in the fire fighter’s academy and passed rigorous requirements addressing one’s physical health and moral character. The bar for admission into this profession is very high. Amy McClure has been a California firefighter for 10 years. She is also deaf and uses bilateral cochlear implants. Ever since childhood she thought firefighting was the coolest job in the world, but because she had no female firefighters as role models, she did not pursue firefighting as a career. Instead, she majored in cell biology and biochemistry in college and worked as a research scientist for 10 years after college. Yet firefighting continued to pull at her. As she approached her 30s, she reconsidered a career in firefighting. Encouraged by close friends who were also making career changes, as well as by female firefighters she met, Amy began the process of becoming a firefighter, starting with becoming an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT), a hiring requirement. About this time, Amy was diagnosed with hearing loss, which is prevalent in her family. Her maternal grandfather received a cochlear implant in his 70s. Amy was worried that her hearing loss would prevent her from advancing and achieving her dream job. As she moved through the hiring process, time and again it was the physical exam and the diagnosis of hearing loss that blocked her from advancing to the hiring phase. But then the Lyric hearing aid arrived on the scene. With the extended-wear capabilities and placement deep within the ear canal, she was able to pass the hearing test and was hired. This content is an exclusive benefit for American Academy of Audiology members. If you're a member, log in and you'll get immediate access. Member Login If you're not yet a member, you'll be interested to know that joining not only gives you access to top-notch resources like this one, but also invitations to member-only events, inclusion in the member directory, participation in professional forums, and access to patient resources, tools, and continuing education. Join today!