OLD WESTBURY - She's won two gold medals representing the United States, leads the SUNY Old Westbury Panthers women's basketball team in assists per game and just so happens to barely hear anything on the court.

Raven Pentz suffers from progressive hearing loss, which was discovered when she was 5 years old. She compares her perception of sound with trying to speak underwater -- sounds are muffled and difficult to discern.

Pentz has used a hearing aid to help her in everyday situations, but she doesn't use the device at practice since it doesn't help much. Instead, she says she reads her coaches' lips and uses hand signals to communicate.

Hearing loss has given the Panthers slight edge on the court, in the form of Pentz reading lips. For example, she can tell when the opposition changes its plays.

Pentz's father, who is deaf, taught her the beneficial skill.

This past summer, Pentz won her second gold medal at the World Deaf Basketball Championships in Taiwan.

When asked if she considers herself a role model, Pentz said that although she hasn't been told that personally, people can do what's needed to succeed no matter what is holding them back.